Variety of colors and textures at the end of September in my west bed



Is life still going on in your garden? It never ceases to amaze me how many perennials don’t bloom until fall

Allium tuberosum at the Missouri Botanical Garden


Allium tuberosum(Garlic Chives), one of my favorite fall blooming bulbs, waits until the end of August or the beginning of September and keeps blooming well into October.  Only twelve to eighteen inches high, the spherical white heads brighten the landscape and the linear foliage usually provides a textural contrast to most perennials.

Allium tuberosum seedheads seen against a background of Siberian Iris foliage in mid-November in my garden




The seedheads are also quite attractive but, beware!  The seeds are prolific and do spread, so plant this bulb where it can seed at will.

The upright Sedum (Stonecrop) that resemble broccoli in July and August finally become stars of the border in September and October.  Depending on the cultivar, the large, relatively flat but rounded heads turn soft pink, bright pink, rusty red, or cream.

Sedum ‘Matrona’



‘Matrona’ has rosy pink heads but adds some color echo with rose-edged foliage and rose stems.

Sedum ‘Neon’





‘Neon’ has bright pink heads and stays short unlike many of the other cultivars.  ‘Autumn Joy’ and its improved cousin ‘Autumn Fire’, sport that rusty red head.  These cultivars all have green foliage but ‘Autumn Charm’ has variegated foliage, creamy white heads, and also seems to stay short at twelve inches.

For years, the mainstays of the fall garden have been asters and chrysanthemums that grow in short mounds.  There are many good ones but I want acquaint you with some others.

Aster tataricus ‘Jin Dai’ with Chrysanthemum ‘Penelope Pease’, Pennisetum ‘Hameln’, and Sedum in October in my west bed


Aster tataricus ‘Jin Dai’(Tatarian Aster) is tall, easily four to five feet, with clusters of small purple flowers that will not bloom until October and huge blue-green leaves.  Give it space because it is a colonizer but be assured that it is easy to control.  Just spade out the colonies that you don’t want.



Aster divaricatus blooming in October in my west bed


Another aster, this time a short one, is Aster divaricatus (White Wood Aster).  It will grow in sun or shade, and will even thrive in dry shade.  It has medium, heart-shaped foliage that serves as a base for the twelve inch stems with hundreds of small white, daisy-like flowers that bloom in both September and October.

There are many other perennials still blooming or yet to bloom and I’ll tell you about more of them next week.