The garden is singing its last hurrah before the hard frosts of autumn close down most of the plants for another year. Garden centres and grocery stores have spectacular offerings of potted chrysanthemums for sale but I don’t have any mums in my garden. I haven’t cared for chrysanthemums since a stint working in a ‘mum factory’, a commercial greenhouse operation. Very off-putting, it was. I’m fond of asters though. The fields are dotted with wild asters at this time of year and the garden varieties capture some of that wild heart in a neatly mounding form.
Last year, I added Aster dumosus ‘Professor Kippenberg’ to the border and it has done very well. In the opening photo, the Professor is backed by the corkscrew hazel, a patch of anaphalis margaritacea (Pearly Everlasting) and the grass Sporobolus heterolepsis (Prairie Dropseed).
This year, I added the pink Aster dumosus ‘Pink Bouquet’. The two asters look pretty together, although Pink Bouquet came into bloom a little earlier and has already peaked, whereas Prof is just at its best.
I added a few new sedums this year too. Pictured above is Sedum ‘Frosty Morn’, a Japanese selection with varigated white and green leaves. I wasn’t that impressed with it when I saw it in its pot, but Frosty Morn really has a great garden presence and positively shines in the sun. To its right is Sedum ‘Matrona’. It is a German introduction and related to the popular ‘Autumn Joy’.
I like Matrona’s burgandy stems and matching burgandy-veined leaves, very handsome. Mr. Goodbud, pictured below, is similar to Matrona, a little lighter in colour. Alright, I admit it. I chose Mr. Goodbud for his name! Mr. Goodbud was developed by Terra Nova Nurseries in Canby, Oregon. The winner of the Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit in 2006, Mr. Goodbud has much to recommend him besides his name.
Finally, here is Sedum ‘Postman’s Pride’. There’s another name you have to wnoder about. It seems the plant was discovered by Belgian postal carrier Jose de Buck in his garden. It was introduced through Plant Haven®, a firm that helps plant breeders bring new varieties to market. Of course, it was those gorgeous, rich, dark leaves that caught my eye. The plant had already finished blooming for the year when I bought it, so I will have to wait till next year to see it in flower. It will take another year for the other sedums to settle in too, and reveal more about their growing habits.