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Posts Tagged ‘Late bloomers’

asters

While some plants have a long blooming period, and continue flowering well into autumn, others wait until the very last minute to do their thing. The asters in the garden bloom at the same time as the wild asters. This is Aster novi-belgii ‘Professor Kippenburg’. Although it looks very like its wild cousins, it is a very well-behaved species. It grows in a neat, dense clump, about a foot tall and blooms profusely.

bluebeard

Bluebeard, or caryopteris was new to me when I came across it last summer and bought a couple of plants for the garden. I have been waiting anxiously all summer to see it bloom and had just about given up hope when it finally flowered. This is Caryopteris x clandonensis “Longwood Blue”. It is said to be attractive to butterflies, but it is blooming so late that it has pretty much missed the butterfly season. However, the bees seem to like it, and it is nice to have something for them this late in the season.

bluebeardflowerwithbee

The last,the very last plant in the garden to bloom is my monkshood, Aconitum carmichaelii ‘Barker’s Variety’. While the bluebeard is new, I’ve had this monkshood in my garden for quite a few years and moved a clump to Willow House a couple of years ago. I wouldn’t want to be without this amazing champion of the latebloomers.

monkshoodplant

It has a pleasing presence in the garden all summer, growing in a tidy clump. It’s long stems, which are over 5 feet tall, are very sturdy and I’ve never needed to stake them. It is just now starting to bloom. It is usual for this plant to still have a few flowers blooming when the first snow flies, long after the rest of the garden has settled into its long winter’s nap.

monkshoodbee

As suggested by their common name, the flowers have an interesting hooded appearance. They have been attracting lots of attention from late-flying bees and other pollinators, and when they visit the flowers, the bees disappear from sight, entering deeply into the blossoms.

Not all monkshood blooms at the end of the summer. There are early summer and mid-summer bloomers as well. The flowers may be ivory coloured, like those of Aconitum ‘Ivorine’, which blooms in late spring, or pink, like Aconitum x cammarum ‘Pink Sensation’. They grow to different heights, too. There is even a dwarf variety, Aconitum ‘Blue Lagoon’, which reaches just 12 inches (30cm) or so.

monkshoodbee2

The plants are well-known as among the most poisonous of garden varieties, but they’re not a problem to work around. Just don’t eat them or use them for herbal purposes.

If you are interested in learning more about aconitum (ak-on-EYE-tum), Canadian Gardening magazine has an article about monkshood in the Fall/Winter 2010 issue.

cangar

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