April 8, 2009

Spring for Fall Flowers

When it's autumn, think of planting for spring. When it's spring, think of planting for autumn.

For spring and early summer blooms, I planted fall bulbs of Allium aflatunenense (Ornamental onion) and iris x hollandica (Dutch iris). I also sowed seeds of Delphinium ajacis (Larkspur) and Papaver laciniatum (Feathered poppy). Now, spring is the time to plant perennials and annuals for more fall flowers.

Last fall, I took notice of the absence of blooms in my garden and added a few perennials and annuals for instant gratification. I made notes of places where I want to have color for fall 2009. There are the usual fall flowers of asters and mums, but I have special conditions in some areas that require plants that are deer resistant and suitable for moist soil.

Two fall blooming perennials that are outstanding performers in my garden can be divided now to spread the glory around the garden:

Hedychium coronarium (Butterfly ginger) zones 7b-10
Helianthus angustifolius 'First Light' (Swamp sunflower) zones 5-9a

The fragrance of the ginger is wonderful, so I'd like to come up with a way to grow it in a slightly submerged pot in my water feature. The swamp sunflower is supposed to be deer resistant, but the deer in my garden were hungry enough in September to eat the blooms. I am now contemplating whether I can make an attractive water feature arrangement of these two perennials by using creeping jenny to cover the edges of the pot.

These two perennials are on my wish list, but are difficult to find locally.

Anemone japonica 'Margarette' (Windflower) zones 5-8 deer resistant
Chelone glabra (Turtlehead) zones 5-8 (native plant) deer resistant

I want to use these two as companions in my rain garden. It may take awhile to establish both and get a good-sized display. Since they are supposed to spread well once established, I don't want to purchase too many as they are both expensive compared to more common perennials.

Back on dry land, I intend to increase the sedum (Stonecrop) in my cottage garden. Last fall, I added three:

Sedum 'Purple Emperor' zones 3-7
Sedum telephium 'Beka'
Sedum 'Green Expectations'

These three sedum are looking so great right now that I'd like to add Sedum spectabile 'Neon' and 'Matrona' to the cottage garden. I've found, from experience, that deer eat sedum blooms, so these have to be inside the fence.

For annuals, I have zinnia seeds to sow in the cottage garden. Coleus (foliage) and impatiens will provide color into fall as well. Among my reliable perennials, agastache and salvia greggii are great fall bloomers. My Encore® Azaleas and Knock Out® Roses will bloom in the fall, too.

Gardeners have to think ahead for seasons of color. What are you planning to grow for fall flowers?

Story and photos by Freda Cameron

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Defining Your Home, Garden & Travel

Home, garden and travel tips by Freda Cameron

Freelance travel writer. My current fiction writing projects include a completed manuscript and several works in progress.

By the way, my name is pronounced fred-ah, not freed-ah. Thank you.

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