When we returned from vacation a week ago the garden was looking a bit neglected. The grass was overgrown, perennials were flopping and needed rectification. This past weekend I started getting things back into proper order, but also took stock of our autumn blooms.
Of course, autumn is about asters, and I have many species of wild asters blooming. Without a doubt my favorite is Aromatic Aster (Symphyotrichum oblongifolius), which is both floriferous and nicely compact. This is a pleasant change from the many asters that tend to be rather rangy.
Then there is Short’s Aster (Symphyotrichum shortii), also with abundant blue flowers though tending to need cutting back to keep it in bounds.
Everybody knows New England Aster (Symphyotrichum novae-angliae). Here it is blooming in the foreground with Brown Eyed Susan (Rudbeckia triloba). I love R. triloba for its adaptable nature, ease of care, long period of bloom, and clouds of small, orange-yellow flowers .
Then there are a whole bunch of asters that are loved by aster fanatics but look rather weedy to most people who are immune to the charms of their subtle but fascinating distinctions: Big Leaf Aster (Symphiotrichum macrophyllum), Crooked Stem Aster (Symphyotrichum prenanthoides), Calico Aster (Symphyotrichum lateriflorum) etc., etc.. I have many of these.
The Goldenrods (Solidago) are another seasonal stalwart. (And please remember that it is ragweed, not Goldenrods, that causes hay fever.) The best goldenrod in my garden is Blue Stem Goldenrod (Solidago caesia), with 2-3 foot arching wands of tiny golden flowers on (as you might expect) blue stems.
The ‘Cassie’ and ‘Darlow’s Enigma’ roses are having a final flush of blooms.
A really terrific ground cover that comes into its glory at this time of year is plumbago (Ceratostigma plumbaginoides). Are those blue flowers gorgeous or what? This plant was considered only marginally hardy in the Chicago area, but now with the warming weather it Broseems to have no trouble making it through our winters.
All these are old standbys in my garden. There are some newcomers as well. Caryopteris ‘Longwood Blue’ is blooming for the first time, and I definitely like the clusters of delicate blue flowers.
I’m also pleased with Sedum spectabile ‘Matrona’.
This year I grew Morning Glory (Ipomoea tricolor) ‘Heavenly Blue’ up my new tuteur, It covered the tuteur well enough with its heart-shaped leaves. The flowers, however, were rather sparse.
I like this bronze fennel (Foeniculum vulgare), and it combines well with the Mexican Sunflower (Tithonia rotundifolia), which is still pumping out blooms.
What are your favorite autumn flowers?