I am profiling seven of my favorite fall bloomers for September Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day starting with my perennial sunflower. This upright plant flowers freely in late summer and fall. It can reach 6 feet high and 4 feet wide. It will grow well in ordinary soil if it is not too dry. It requires full sun. As you can see from my first picture, I grow mine in planters, because they can be rather aggressive, so I like to contain them. Also, that area on each side of the arbor is very wet, and none of the shrubs and vines I've planted have survived there, but pots work well. I don't deadhead, but leave the seeds for the birds. I've had no problems with this plant until this year when it developed some powdery mildew. Next year, I plan to spray early with an organic fungicide.
|Perennial sunflower Helianthus microcephalus|
|Few butterflies, this year, but hundreds of bees.|
Gardeners either love or hate Sweet Autumn Clematis vine. Every September, it grows up a wrought iron trellis in my garden to create an impressive column of fragrant, creamy-white flowers which I love. It is a rampant grower that can reach a height and spread of 15 to 30 feet in zones 5 - 9. The native species (C. virginiana) is not as prone to self-seeding and spreading, but I further control mine by cutting it back almost to the ground after flowering. I monitor its growth through the shrubs on each side. I find this comparatively high maintenance plant worth the trouble; many do not. If you like it, grow it in average, medium, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade.
|Native Sweet Autumn Clematis Clematis virginiana|
In summer, the silvery gray foliage of caryopteris x clandonensis 'Dark Knight' shines in my cottage garden border, but it comes into its own in fall when it blooms. The fragrant, small, dark purple-blue flowers are magnets for bees.This compact, mounding shrub grows up to 3 feet high and 5 feet wide in zones 6 to 9. Blue is probably my favorite flower color and this patch of blue in my fall garden always makes me happy. I usually give it some protection from the winter weather, but didn't last year because of ill health and I'm thrilled it survived the worst winter ever.
|Blue mist shrub Caryopteris 'Dark Knight'|
My clump of turtlehead has grown slowly because I planted it in dry soil, which it tolerates while preferring moisture. I love the blooms that bring late-summer color to my shade garden. This native plant, found in zones 3 to 8, grows 3 feet high and 18 inches wide. Chelone can be propagated by soft-tip cuttings in summer or by division or seed in fall or spring.
|Turtle head Chelone glabra 'Hot lips'|
|My camera captured the bee before it disappeared into the blossom.|
'Autumn Joy' is a very upright, clumping perennial that blooms early autumn. It prefers moderately fertile soil in full sun. It thrives in zones 4 to 9, growing to a height and width of 2 feet. You can find it under the common name, Autumn Joy Stonecrop, and sometimes under the name, 'Herbsfreude.'
Chrysanthemum Leucanthemum hybrid
As summer blooms begin to fade, the daisy-like flowers of fall 'mums are a welcome addition to the garden. I add pots to every border choosing colors that compliment other late bloomers. I buy the so-called 'hardy' variety, but there's no guarantee they will survive the winter -- none pulled through last year. Chrysanthemums date back to 15th century BC and according to mythology they symbolize optimism and joy.
|Chrysanthemum Leucanthemum hybrid|
The entry garden begins to look like autumn, with scattered leaves and fall mums, even with the summer 'welcome' slate and wreath still in place.
|Goldenrod Solidago Rugosa|
What are your favorite fall blooms?
Happy Autumn Gardening!
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