Harbinger of Autumn


Conoclinium coelestinum, or the Blue Mistflower, comes into bloom as the sun rises later and the mornings grow cooler. It is not native to New England, but it thrives in my garden and makes a sizable colony in only a few seasons. It does have Imperial ambitions, and left unchecked will spread and spread. Fortunately it is easy to pull out, if one can bear to.

Heliopsis, or false sunflower, is another late summer and fall perennial. This showy cultivar is “Burning Hearts”. It has all the colors of Fall- dusky brownish purple leaves and bonfire colored blooms. It is a tough plant as most heliopsis are ,and dry sandy soil does not bother it.

I think that artemisia “Powis Castle” is the best of the artemisias. It has the form of a shrub and its filigree foliage is fine from Spring through Fall. It does not spread like Silver Queen and Silver King. It does not disintegrate into mush like “Silver Mound”. It is easy to propagate from stem cuttings, and I have ten cuttings in pots now. One can also bury the stems in late fall, and cover them with a brick. They will root.

Phlox, decimated by the groundhogs, has come back into my home garden, since the groundhogs are gone, dispatched by a neighbor’s dog. This white and blush old variety was here when I moved in.

Planted in early summer, cleomes will bloom into fall, but plants put in in May may bloom out by August, so it is better to start them late.

We are in a severe drought here in Southern New Hampshire. Springs and wells are drying up. We spend hours watering the new garden at the Historical Society, which faces south west, is on a slope, and is hard to irrigate because of the excessive mulch piled on over the years. Every time I water my loathing of shredded bark mulch grows. It repels water, chews up nitrogen, and will be impervious to self sown desirable seedlings.

Rain is in the forecast for tomorrow. The local TV weather calls it” possible beneficial rain”. That sounds more hopeful than “showers” which are light and random. It is more hopeful than thunderstorms that pass north and south, avoiding our gardens. When one does track over here the downbursts come so fast that runoff sends the rain to the sewers or the river and not to roots.

Published by talesofanashvillegardener

Professional gardener, Experimental Cook. Constant Reader

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