Thomas Moore, in his poem “The Last Rose of Summer”, said:
Tis the last rose of summer,
Left blooming alone;
All her lovely companions
Are faded and gone.
He may have been an excellent poet but I doubt that he was a gardener. Even if he was, he lived in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, long before many of the plants we use in our gardens now had been brought to England.
Many roses continue to bloom into the fall, much less the end of summer. In fact, two of my Oso Easy roses, ‘Cherry Pie’, and ‘Happy Smoothie’ are still flowering. I also had two climbers, ‘Mortimer Sackler’, a pink David Austin, and ‘Nastarana’, a white cultivar from a southern nursery, in bloom until a few weeks ago.
It is starting to feel a lot like late autumn now as the temperatures drop but my garden still pleases me with its abundance of late blooming clematis, chrysanthemums, asters, Aconitum (Monkshood), ornamental grasses, an occasional unexpected Rudbeckia maxima (Giant Coneflower) and reblooming Nepeta (Catmint) and snapdragons.
Even when all of those “companions” are faded and gone, the conifers of various colors will remain as will the grasses and perennials that I don’t cut back until spring, leaving their seedheads for the birds and their forms that remind me that the garden is merely dormant, not dead. Thus, I always look forward to the renewal of spring.