Chrysanthemum 'J.C.Weigelan'

Chrysanthemum ‘J.C.Weigelan’

Chrysanthemum Venus'

Chrysanthemum Venus’

Mother Nature never ceases to amaze me. Although this month has been chilly with intermittent snow showers and rain, all of my old-fashioned mums are blooming and, in fact, a few are not yet in full bloom. I love the rich color of ‘J.C.Weigelan’and the soft pink of ‘Venus’.

Chrysanthemum 'Autumn Moon'

Chrysanthemum ‘Autumn Moon’

Chrysanthemum 'Glowing Ember'

Chrysanthemum ‘Glowing Ember’

Chrysanthemum 'Pink Dawn'

Chrysanthemum ‘Pink Dawn’

Chrysanthemum 'Purple Mist'

Chrysanthemum ‘Purple Mist’

Chrysanthemum 'Rustic Glow'

Chrysanthemum ‘Rustic Glow’

I also am enchanted with the colors of the Vermont series, bred for its hardiness: ‘Autumn Moon’ (pale apricot), ‘Glowing Ember’ (rich orange), ‘Pink Dawn’ (very soft pink, almost white), ‘Purple Mist’ (purple verging on pink), and ‘Rustic Glow’ (a rusty orange). They are a bit sprawly so next year I will try to remember to cut them in half in June.

Clematis 'Sundance'

Clematis ‘Sundance’

Clematis 'Sundance' seedheads with Rosa 'Mortimer Sackler'

Clematis ‘Sundance’ seedheads with Rosa ‘Mortimer Sackler’

A totally different element is the spiral deadheads of autumn blooming Clematis. Most of you are acquainted with Clematis terniflora, formerly C.paniculata, with its multitude of small white flowers but the deadheads are equally lovely and eye-catching. Somewhat similar but a bit earlier to bloom is C.’Sundance’. Its flowers are pale yellow and, like its cousin, clambers up my fence and into an ancient crabapple. The deadheads are equally arresting and set off the flowers of Rosa ‘Mortimer Sackler’ which is still blooming.

Corydalis lutea

Corydalis lutea

Corydalis is an amazing perennial that starts blooming in May and continues until hard frost. I have both C.lutea with its delicate yellow flowers and C.ochroleuca (white flowers). Both have very delicate foliage that contrasts well with the large leaves of Hosta or Brunnera (Forget-Me-Not).

Carex elata 'Aurea', Chrysanthemum 'Bronze Elegans', 'Mei Kyo', Miscanthus sinensis 'Variegatus', copper urn;

Carex elata ‘Aurea’, Chrysanthemum ‘Bronze Elegans’, ‘Mei Kyo’, Miscanthus sinensis ‘Variegatus’, copper urn

The ornamental grasses, of course, look fabulous, I love their inflorescences and cry every time I pass a site where the grasses have already been cut down. They look so beautiful swaying in the winter wind and snow. In the back garden,  I love the color echo of my Mexican copper urn, the bronze mums, and the inflorescence of the Miscanthus.

Unlike many gardeners, I do not cut down all of my perennials even though they are no longer in bloom. I leave as many seedheads as possible for the birds, mostly Echinacea, Aster, and Iris sibirica. If the stems aren’t knocked to the ground by the end of winter, I will cut them down but they often become a natural mulch that enriches the soil.

What does your landscape look like now?