Farewell to Summer by Rambling Rose
As we move into the fall season and our summer bloomers start to fade, it is encouraging to know there are still quite a few choices for late color in our gardens. Mentioned here are three of the traditional flowers, Asters, Mums (chrysanthemums) and Japanese Anemones. Often times these are treated as seasonal, not as the perennial beauties they deserve. Mums come in many colors, in one bed I blended gold, yellow, maroon, and orange. Interspersed they create a fall tapestry. They do not need to be an annual… to care for them protect the Mums by covering plants with several inches of mulch. Wait until the following spring to cut back stems and fertilize well to encourage blooms. If the Mums produce spring blooms, pinch them back before late Summer to encourage Fall flowering. They are well worth the extra effort.
Japanese Anemones, nicknamed windflowers, flower in August and usually continue through mid-October. They like moist soil and semi shade is fine. Some of mine are in deep shade and get leggy but, like the name windflower they sway beautifully in the breezes. Yes, they do spread by roots so be aware (I love it when a plant is so happy it starts a new family in my garden). Dividing in the spring after new growth keeps them corralled and can be shared with friends. To me, the various pink and white hues compliment my purple Asters.
Lastly, the Aster, a garden must. They require little care and my two beds are going on 20 years. Color wise, many to choose from but for Fall I go with purples and pinks. When purchasing any of these three plants be sure to get the perennial variety. Now is a great time to shop too. If their blooms have faded just cut back to about 3-4 inches, plant, water, and wait for Spring. Sales at this time of year are perfect for adding to or starting a Fall bed.