Posts Tagged ‘cleome’


As we move into fall, the garden begins to take on an overripe, languid feel, an aging beauty going to seed, in this case, quite literally. However, it is still a beautiful place to stroll and take in the sights.

Lemon Queen sunflower (Helianthus ‘Lemon Queen’) dominates the central island. I didn’t get around to staking the Queen earlier in the season, and now she is so well-attended by bumblebees, I am content to let her tumble out over her lesser neighbours.

Lemon Queen walk

The ornamental grasses are taking on a starring role in the border as their seedheads mature.

Lemon Queen and Grasses

My favorite is probably Redhead Fountaingrass (Pennisetum alopecuroides ‘Redhead’), which has already been magnificent for weeks.

Pennisetum Alopecuroides 'Redhead'

Its little cousin Piglet (Pennisetum alopecuroides ‘Piglet’) has a softer look, with gently arching stems.


In addition to airy seedheads, the blades of switchgrass add colour interest. Here is Shenandoah (Panicum virgatum ‘Shenandoah’) touched with scarlet.

Panicum virgatum 'Shenandoah'

The various ligularia species have been brightening shady corners since midsummer. Here is Desdemona (Ligularia dentata ‘Desdemona’).

Ligularia dentata 'Desdemona'

Of course, fall is the season for asters. Here is Pink Bouquet (Aster dumosus ‘Pink Bouquet’) backed by Silver Brocade artemisia (Artemisia stelleriana ‘Silver Brocade’).

Aster dumosus 'Pink Bouquet' and Artemisia 'Silver Brocade'

By autumn, the annuals have matured and are adding touches of brillant colour. The caryopteris, or bluebeard, is adding a pretty blue and the deep wine-cerise of Angelica is outstanding with phlox and sedum. Here is a selection of other garden highlights.

To visit other September gardens, please drop by May Dream’s Garden Bloggers’ Day roundup, linked here.



Caryopteris x clandonensis 'Longwood Blue'

Caryopteris x clandonensis ‘Longwood Blue’

Angelica gigas

Angelica gigas

Rainbow Knockout Rosa 'Radcor'

Rainbow Knockout Rosa ‘Radcor’

Calamintha nepeta 'Blue Cloud'

Calamintha nepeta ‘Blue Cloud’

Echinacea 'Green Jewel'

Echinacea ‘Green Jewel’

Black Adder Agastache and Hosta Krossa Regal

Black Adder Agastache and Hosta Krossa Regal

Anemone hupehensis 'Pink Saucer'

Anemone hupehensis ‘Pink Saucer’

Joe Crow

Joe Crow

Woodland Walk

Woodland Walk

Tamarack Walk

Tamarack Walk

Shade Walk

Shade Walk

Japanese Painted ferns, hostas and Tiger Eye sumac with Amur Maple

Japanese Painted ferns and hostas underplanting Amur Maple with Tiger Eye Sumac in background.

Royal Standard Hostas

Royal Standard Hostas

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For garden colour that spans the seasons from spring to fall, you can’t beat annuals. If you purchase pre-started plantlets, they are often blooming when you plant them and continue unabated until frost ends their year. Cleome, cosmos, and portulaca are all still going strong in my garden. It is the nature of perennials to have a shorter bloom season. Unlike annuals, which have one glorious summer to fulfill their mandate, perennials have several years, sometimes many years, and must direct some of their energy to preparing for the winter ahead.


Nevertheless, the two species of coreopsis represented in my garden came very close to matching the performance of annuals. The winner of this year’s “All Summer Long” bloom award goes to Coreopsis grandiflora “Mayfield Giant”, which put on a marvellous show. Its brilliant golden-yellow flowers have lit up the border all summer and are still blooming as we head into October.


The runner-up prize goes to the closely related Coreopsis verticillata “Moonbeam”. This little sweetheart, with its narrow leaves, has an airy presence and makes an excellent filler plant between larger perennials. Its prolific pale-yellow blooms compliment just about any other plant it is partnered with.


While some of the echinaceas, or coneflowers, have been content with a modest bloom season, some species have out-bloomed both their cousins and my expectations. One of the best has been Echinacea “Green Jewel”. Its interesting green-hued flowers are still going strong.


The roses that I planted midseason have settled in well. I didn’t deadhead them, with the hope of encouraging them to stop blooming and concentrate on rooting. Rosa Radcor ‘Knock Out Rainbow’ wasn’t to be dissuaded, however, and is still blooming nicely.


The butterfly bush, Buddleia hybrid “Honeycomb” hasn’t been too impressive. It struggles in this hardiness zone. Still, I have to give it credit for persistence. It is still blooming and feeding the bees.


In the spring, I planted some very small seedlings of two varieties of agastache (ag-ah-STAK-ee as per Fine Gardening magazine). I was worried that after a long summer of struggling, they wouldn’t survive the winter. However, both have come along in the last few weeks of summer, even putting out some flower stalks, so maybe they’ll make it to next year and come back stronger. Shown above is Agastache barberi ‘Tutti Frutti’ and below is Agastache aurantiaca “Coronado Red”, not really red at all, but a soft orange.


I’ll close with this little sweetheart, Dianthus “Raspberry Swirl”. Like the agastache, it has spent the summer getting settled and is just now putting out a few flowers, way behind its normal blooming time. Worth the wait, though, don’t you think?


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Annual Colour

Most of my garden plants are perennials, but for a hit of season-long colour, you can’t beat annuals. As my garden has matured, I have less space for annuals but there are still a few rough corners that annuals fill perfectly. The purple salvia, above, lines the new garden path and looks great against a background of bright pink phlox.

In a hot, dry corner, portulaca shines. It’s easy to see why portulaca is sometimes called Moss Rose with its pretty, rose-like flowers. The colours are amazing. It’s a carefree, easy-to-grow plant.

The complex, spidery flowers of cleome, held on tall stems, add interest to the mid-summer border. Since I first discovered this plant years ago, my garden has rarely been without it.

With their open, ferny foliage, cosmos make a great filler for spaces between perennials. This vivid pink is a real eye-catcher. Cosmos last well into the fall, surviving several frosts before finally succumbing to approaching winter.

White cosmos look crisp and fresh against the blue-green foliage of “Prairie Sky” switchgrass.

Finally, here are the sunflowers. I can’t take credit for these, though I do usually plant a few. These ones were planted by the birds! They have grown up around the bird feeder, where I put out a mix of seeds every day. They look so good that next year I plan on giving the birds a hand and expanding the sunflower patch.

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I took advantage of a bare patch of ground in the front yard to plant a few annuals. For a bright splash of summer colour in the garden, there really is no match for a grouping of quick-growing annuals. In addition to some shorter orange and yellow marigolds, I planted a selection of taller plants, including an amaranthus variety with bright wine-red and pink leaves.


Behind the amaranthus is a grouping of “White Queen” cleome.


Their unusual, spidery flowers add a touch of the exotic. What a fabulous return on a small spring investment in a six-pack of seedlings!


At the rear is bright pink “Silver Cup” lavatera.


The Four O’Clocks (Mirabilis jalapa) are so named for their habit of opening late in the afternoon. These particular blooms could be called Nine O’Clocks! It is nearly dark before they begin to open and the best time to view them is early in the morning, before they begin closing again for the day.


Three tall sunflowers are blooming at the back of the pack.


But there’s more than meets the eye in this pretty picture. Look closely, just in front of the sunflowers, and you may see some green vegetable vines.


Although sadly under-attended and outgrown by their flowery companions, a half dozen tomato plants have soldiered on and are producing fruit.


Was there ever a better treat than a juicy, midsummer tomato, straight from the garden? Mmmm!

When Fiddlegirl was here last, she told us about a visitor to whom she offered a cherry tomato, just picked. The visitor, sadly deprived of garden tomatoes her whole life, remarked “Is there something wrong with this tomato? It tastes funny. It’s so sweet!”
Considering how very easy it is to grow a few tomato plants, you’d think anyone with even a container on a balcony would avail themselves of this summer delight. They don’t know what they’re missing.


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