Sunday, September 10
I really need some more fall color in my garden. Some rich, warm fall color like this accidental combo of orange pyracantha berries and purple sweet potato vine.
In the red category, my Japanese bloodgrass is showing nicely, as is the 'Rhubarb' Swiss chard. The nasturtiums are starting to peter out but the pineapple sage looks like it's ready to flower any time. 'Vodka' wax begonias are still going strong.
Not counting the pyracantha berries, the only true oranges I see in the garden are asclepias tuberosa and 'Copper Sunset' nasturtiums. I have a couple of late 'Cappucino' sunflowers that are adding a rusty brown-orange as well.
In purples, the foliage is carrying the day: 'Blackie' sweet potato vine, 'Purple Knockout' salvia lyrata, 3 inherited heuchera, the Japanese maple, 'Hillside Black Beauty' cimicifuga/actaea, 'Dragon's Blood' sedum, 'Othello' ligularia and various coleus. I do have purple flowers, too: My 'May Night' salvia is STILL blooming! I'm amazed, as it's easily been flowering for 14 weeks now.
So now I'm looking around at other people's gardens and thinking about what I can add to give me some color at this time next year. Frankly, I don't much care for mums or asters, as they don't seem to carry their weight for the rest of the year. With a small garden, I require at least 3 seasons of interest--or 2 seasons of spectacular interest, plus being bearable the third season.
I'm thinking that I need to add some more colorful foliage in general, like pennisetum rubrum and more coleus. I might want to refrain from deadheading things like iris that will form interesting seedheads. I've learned that if I cut back my amaranths when they are younger, I can get a stouter multi-branched plant. That will hopefully allow me to keep them in the garden longer instead of having to clean them out when they get top-heavy and succumb to the wind.
Next year, some of the smaller pots of grasses that I planted last year--'The Blues' little bluestem, 'Hameln' pennisetum, carex buchannii, and 'Rotstrahlbush' switchgrass--should come into maturity and add more interest. They look good now, they're just so small that they don't make as much of an impact as they will at full size.
Fall is my absolute favorite season. I love the crisp air, the warm colors, the sense that the plant world is going to take a much-deserved rest after putting all of its energy into being green and growing for months on end. It might sound kind of silly to be planning for a beautiful fall garden when that's the time that most people are "putting their gardens to bed,"but I would love for my favorite season to be my favorite time to view the garden as well.