Colors of Autumn

I found this unnamed heuchera at the garden center down the road and brought it home. It has all the apple and maple leaf colors of autumn. It glows from within.

And then, on Etsy, I found Amsonia “Butterscotch”, which flowers powder blue in spring and turns to precious amber in autumn.

Every morning now, the first thing I look up on the internet is the ten day forecast, hoping no night will drift below 40F. We seem safe today, at least through the first of October. There is so much left to bloom.

Ethereal Flowers

This is Caryopteris divartica “Blue Butterflies”, another Japanese edge of the woodland perennial blooming now in my New Boston garden. This plant can become very large, and becomes a die back shrub in our winters, coming back from the roots in spring. It can take half sun. It is also a determined seeder, and little ones pop up all over, so there will be plenty for your friends-

A cosmos in my dry border.

Blooming Today

New England aster “Violetta” . Hybridized in Europe. This came from Digging Dog Nursery in California, ordered on line. This nursery has choice asters, persicarias, ornamental grasses and aconitums.

“Torch” tithonia, the Mexican sunflower. Easily raised from seed planted in June. A fast growing annual. Easy for anyone. The white spires are Persicaria “Alba”.

Above is Patrina scabiousifolia, the Golden Lace Flower- a Japanese plant. Easy to grow. Mine came from Plant Delights Nursery in North Carolina which sells on line.

All the plants above are in the Goffstown Historical Society Gardens.

The following flowers are in my bone dry sand garden in New Boston, watered only twice through this summer’s drought.

Letterman’s ironweed, from Missouri and the lower mid- west. The yellow flower is Solidago rigida, the Rigid Goldenrod, another Midwesterner. These plants can be found online at The Prairie Nursery or the Prairie Moon Nursery. The white spire on the right is the Silver Rod, native to New Hampshire. This plant just showed up- a volunteer.

Above- a closeup of the Rigid Goldenrod. Note the sedum like leaves.

At the Goffstown Historical Society Gardens- September 8, 2022

Gardens don’t need to be abandoned after August. Here is proof in these late flowering borders.

Above- “Candles” canna, zinnias, and “Miss Huff” lantana.

Agastache “Morello”

The native New Hampshire Showy Goldenrod (Solidago speciosa), shown below-

Canna “Pretoria” above, and the Late border in front of the old red schoolhouse below.

The grass in the foreground is “Standing Ovation”, a Little bluestem. Most late blooming perennials are composites, and as beautiful as they are, need the contrast of tender salvias and ornamental grasses to provide contrast and prevent monotony.

A note- “Pretoria” canna- available on line from Horn Cannas. Canna “Candles”, available on line from Karchesky Cannas.

A Wonderful Sunless Few Days

Two of the last three summers have been severe droughts. The spring here dried up, and we have to depend on a well. I have tried to conserve water by watering sparingly this summer, and have been dismayed by the wilting and drooping. A Boltonia “Snowbank” I bought in June has withered on the weekly regime and is unsightly. The soil here is too sandy, and I will give it a chance in the alluvial soil at the Historical Society, which does not drain so quickly and is more often irrigated.

Future forecasts are for summers here to be drier than ever.

But last night a two day rain started and the forecast is for two to three inches. I do not care that I cannot go outside. I know the plants will look happy when this rain stops and the inevitable mushrooms sprout from the lawns.

I have never seen so much bug damage as I have this summer. It is dispiriting. But week after week of no rain is worse. The garden begins to look unenthusiastic, and I am depressed myself by the endless watering.

There are plants that soldier on and thrive in dryness. Yuccas, the aromatic aster “Raydon’s Favorite, the goldenrods, “Montrose White” calamintha, the hardy chrysanthemums, and New York Ironweed.

Fall is on the doorstep, and one of these mornings I will look for the hummingbirds, and they will be gone.

Now what I hope for most is that frost will hold off at least till mid-October for I find fall gardens the most beautiful of all and full of royal colors.

My favorite wildflower- the Blue Mist flower

“Salmon Sunset” Four O’clock

Four O’Clocks open in the afternoon and close in midmorning. Hence their common name. This plant was raised from seed. In my southern garden it was hardy, but here it dies with the frost unless I overwinter it as a dried tuber. This flower is my favorite shade of pastel orange and is in the Sunset Colors flower bed at the Historical Society. One never sees these at garden centers, for it is an old fashioned plant from the cottage gardens of mothers and grandmothers who took the time to raise their flowers from seed. I do not know if this color will return in self sown seedlings-


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.