The official beginning of autumn in the northern hemisphere is Sunday September 22nd. But for all practical purposes summer is in the rearview mirror. Labor Day is behind us and my Facebook news feed is well stocked with kids going back to school. One of the last things that may come to mind this time of year is the garden. Not so fast.
As a passionate gardener I am not yet ready to succumb to Mother Nature’s boorish manners and allow her to spoil all my fun. There are plenty of late season plants to extend the growing season and add interest to your yard and gardens.
One of my favorite plants this time of year is a low growing shrub named Caryopteris ‘Dark Knight.’ This shrub has an impressive profusion of dark blue spiked flowers. It is compact and a showy deciduous shrub that grows to be 2-3’ tall and 2-3’ wide. Caryopteris ‘Dark Knight’ requires full sun and can be used as a specimen plant, in a hedge or in front of a low wall. As part of the Spirea family one can assume it is a rather tough plant.
A perennial that many know, but continues to perform is Sedum ‘Autumn Joy.’ This plant is easy to grow and brings interest to the garden from spring into late fall. With its broccoli like flowers that are green throughout the growing season then taking on a pink to purple hue in the fall it is sure to grab attention. Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ can also stand alone or be planted en masse to make a statement. It is a full sun plant and is somewhat drought tolerant.
Last but not least is a relatively tall perennial named Helenium. This plant has a long blooming period and lights up the garden with daisy like flowers that shine with yellow, brown and mahogany shades. Helenium grows to 2-5’ tall and 1-2’ wide and attracts birds and butterflies. It can tolerate wet soils and makes a great border or back drop plant in full sun gardens.
Just because the seasons are changing and spring is long gone doesn’t mean gardening season is over. Give these three plants a try or feel free to share some of your favorite fall plants.