Wow, can it really be a month since the August Bloom Day? Can it really be September? It can and it is and the garden is lush and full, moving into its final display before frost ends the show for another year. There is still plenty to see. Welcome to my Eastern Ontario Zone 4a USDA garden. Let me take you for a little tour and we’ll enjoy some of the highlights together.
Near our front door, the white bottle-brush blooms of snakeroot (Cimicifuga ramosa ‘Atropurpurea’) stand tall beside the curious ropes of the annual Love-Lies-Bleeding (Amaranthus cauditis). Annuals that reach their peak just as many perennials are dying back can really enliven the fall garden. Certainly, Love-Lies-Bleeding has both a catchy name and an eye-catching form.
To the other side of the doorway is our ornamental pond, where the pink impatiens have filled out and brighten the shade.
The large island bed is edged by Coreopsis grandiflora ‘Mayfield Giant’. I have several coreopsis species, but I have to say this reliable bloomer is a favorite. I generally prefer stems that stand upright, but the sprawling nature of Mayfield sets off the grasses it fronts in a pleasingly natural manner.
The grasses come into their own in the fall. Behind the coreopsis is Panicum virgatum ‘Shenandoah’, which features wine-red leaf tips and reddish flower heads. When the grasses go to seed, they will feed wintering birds.
Interplanted with ‘Shenandoah’ is Panicum virgatum ‘Prairie Sky’, a blue grass. The grasses are at their finest when bejeweled with tiny dew or rain drops. Echinacia purpurea ‘Ruby Star’ looks good with both grasses. I never cut back dead flower heads until the spring. The echinacea and coreopsis seeds will provide another winter food source for wildlife.
A pair of Northern Sea Oats (Chasmanthium latifolium) did well this summer. This moderately sized plant does well in a shady section of the garden and features interesting seedheads in the fall.
Agastache ‘Heatwave’ has been a fabulous performer this summer. It is backed by Helenium ‘Helena’ in yellow and rust red. To the left, you can just make out the tall stems of Andropogon gerardii (Big Bluestem), which doesn’t have seed stalks yet. To the right is Miscanthus gigantus (Giant Maiden Grass). The plumes in the centre belong to an unnamed Miscanthus species.
Blooming amongst the tall grasses is Rudbeckia nitida ‘Herbstonne’, shown below with a Monarch visitor.
Buddleja, or Butterfly Bush, is considered an invasive species in some areas, but there is not much risk of that here. This Buddleja davidii ‘Honeycomb’ struggles from year to year, and this spring, I considered digging out the rather unimpressive shoot. However, I let it be, and I am gratified to see that butterflies are finding it attractive, not to mention bumblebees.
A nice patch of Chelone obliqua (Turtlehead) is offering up its pink blooms to bumblebees too, and it is fascinating to watch the bees disappear into the tubular blooms and then reappear a second later.
Perhaps the star of the late summer garden this year has been this sunflower, Helianthus ‘Lemon Queen’. If I were to stake it, the stems would be 6 to 7 feet tall. But I let is gently bow down and the huge bouquet of flowers is thus held at a perfect eye level. I wouldn’t want to miss viewing the host of pollinators that this beauty attracts.
Along a shady path, Geranium ‘Rozanne’ and Anemone hupehensis ‘Pink Saucer’ are mingling. This geranium has been a wonder this summer, offering up its beautiful blue flowers over a remarkably long period.
Here’s another blue, Caryopteris x clandonensis ‘Longwood Blue’, or bluebeard. I had no experience with caryopteris before I purchased this plant. It wasn’t until I travelled to Longwood Gardens that I made the connection between my caryopteris and the magnificent Pennsylvania garden, where I was delighted to view the “Caryopteris Allee”.
Of course, no fall garden would be complete without asters. This is Aster dumosus ‘Pink Bouquet’.
Likewise, sedums are also great for fall colour. This is Sedum ‘Carl’.
Although there are still other interesting sights to see, I’ll end our tour with this final plant, Phytolacca acinosa, or pokeberry, which is at its best when its colourful berries put on their show.
You can visit other gardens through GBBD Central at May Dreams Gardens. Enjoy!