Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day – September 2021
‘Henry Eilers’ sweet coneflower ( Rudbeckia subtomentosa) with great burnet ( Sanguisorba officinalis)
In many ways, this year has become less of a growing season and more of an endurance test. Just as it looked like the summer’s sultry weather was getting cooler and drier, setting up for a beautiful fall, we ended up with over 15 inches of rain over the last 3 weeks (over half of that in just one day), and the multiple rounds of stormy weather really did a number on the many tall beauties just coming into their glory. As you can imagine, the current garden views aren’t at all photogenic, and I was seriously considering skipping Bloom Day altogether this month. There are still many wonderful things happening here and there, though, so I hope you’ll join me for a closer look.
Let’s start with the perennials that are still in bloom, or just coming into flower. These are all North American native species or “nativars” (cultivars of natives):
The apetalous blooms of ‘Nally’s Lime Dots’ boltonia ( Boltonia asterioides) Pink turtlehead ( Chelone lyonii) Flowering since June and still looking lovely: whiteleaf leather flower ( Clematis glaucophylla) American dittany ( Cunila origanoides) Starting to go from bloom to seed: rattlesnake master ( Eryngium yuccifolium) A particularly good seedling of ‘Jocius’ Variegate’ snakeroot ( Ageratina or Eupatorium) ‘Carine’ perennial sunflower (Helianthus): grown from a lovely seed gift, this beauty flowered its first year; think of it as a more-compact form of ‘Lemon Queen’, with slightly softer yellow blooms on dark stems Smooth rose mallow ( Hibiscus laevis), also known as halberd-leaved rose mallow Another pretty-in-pink mallow: seashore mallow ( Kosteletzkya virginica) Round-headed bush clover ( Lespedeza capitata) with stiff goldenrod ( Oligoneuron rigidum) It’s taken a few years for this creeping bush clover ( Lespedeza repens) to settle in, but it’s finally filling out nicely A closeup of the flowers forming now on creeping bush clover ( Lespedeza repens) Mohr’s rosinweed ( Silphium mohrii) with a white form of great blue lobelia ( Lobelia siphilitica ‘Alba’) that showed up in the meadow here a few years ago Rough goldenrod ( Solidago rugosa) with spotted Joe-Pye weed ( Eutrochium maculatum) and Indian grass ( Sorghastrum nutans) ‘Prairie Glow’ brown-eyed Susan ( Rudbeckia triloba) Royal catchfly ( Silene regia): hard to beat for a spectacular splash of color! Tall ironweed ( Vernonia gigantea) Narrow-leaved ironweed ( Vernonia lettermannii)
A few non-native perennials are looking good now too, including…
Just coming into flower: bluebeard ( Caryopteris divaricata) Corydalis ochotensis: self-sows freely, like so many other yellow corydalis, but it’s a nice bit of fresh color this time of year ‘September Charm’ anemone (formerly Anemone, now Eriocapitella, apparently; sigh) Golden lace ( Patrinia scabiosifolia) with Deam’s orange coneflower ( Rudbeckia fulgida var. deamii) Purple Japanese burnet ( Sanguisorba tenuifolia var. purpurea) with Diabolo ninebark ( Physocarpus opulifolius ‘Monlo’)
A number of annuals are still looking respectable, or even peaking now, including…
Sunset hibiscus ( Abelmoschus manihot): I love, love, love this species! ‘Mischief’ musk mallow (Malva moschata): much shorter but also lovely, and easy to grow ‘Elephant Head’ amaranth ( Amaranthus) in front of ‘Cramer’s Amazon’ spike celosia ( Celosia argentea var. spicata) Why has it been so long since I last grew strawflowers ( Xerochrysum bracteatum)? I’m really enjoying the color mix in ‘Strawberry Banana Sundae’. I am completely smitten by the gaudy crests of Celosia argentea var. cristata ‘Variegata’ Filled with flowers since June: ‘Firefly’ cuphea ( Cuphea) Another annual that’s been blooming for months and just keeps getting better: climbing Chinese bleeding heart ( Dactylicapnos torulosa) ‘Mandarin Orange’ globe amaranth ( Gomphrena haageana) with plains coreopsis ( Coreopsis tinctoria) Show-stopping ‘Sunspots’ annual sunflower (Helianthus annuus). I was able to collect seeds from some earlier-sown plants—yay! Another outstanding thing from a generous seed gift: a spotted touch-me-not or jewelweed ( Impatiens capensis) with bright yellow foliage. I’ve been calling it ‘Joel’s Gold’. One seed collected so far: the first of many, I hope! The morning glories are finally doing their thing in earnest. This is ‘Fuji no Murasaki’ Japanese morning glory ( Ipomoea nil). ‘Keiryu’ Japanese morning glory ( Ipomoea nil): tie-dye flowers with foliage that is both chartreuse and variegated ‘Kikyo Snowflakes’ Japanese morning glory ( Ipomoea nil) ‘Sazanami’ Japanese morning glory ( Ipomoea nil), with a bit of ‘Hopi Red Dye’ amaranth ( Amaranthus) in the background ‘Jamie Lynn’ morning glory ( Ipomoea purpurea) Pink cypress vine ( Ipomoea quamoclit ‘Rosea’) Cardinal climber ( Ipomoea x multifida) Tree tobacco ( Nicotiana glauca) Red mallow ( Pavonia missionum) Scarlet pentapetes ( Pentapetes phoenicea) Variegated kiss-me-over-the-garden-gate ( Persicaria orientalis ‘Shiro-gane Nishiki’) Japanese indigo ( Persicaria tinctoria) Aztec sweet herb ( Phyla dulcis) Sesame ( Sesamum indicum) Porcupine tomato ( Solanum pyracanthum, or pyrocanthos, or pyracanthon, depending on who you listen to) Amberique bean ( Strophostyles helvola)
It’s a little early for a color change, but there is still some interesting foliage now…
White-veined Dutchman’s pipe ( Aristolochia fimbriata) ‘Peppermint Stick’ giant reed ( Arundo donax) ‘Moon and Stars’ watermelon ( Citrullus lanatus) Bed of nails ( Solanum quitoense)
Warm-season grasses are also a key part of the early autumn show here at Hayefield. Some that look particularly good now include…
Korean feather reed grass ( Calamagrostis brachytricha) Indian grass ( Sorghastrum nutans) Frost grass ( Spodiopogon sibiricus) Purpletop tridens ( Triodia flava) Northern sea oats ( Chasmanthium latifolium)
And to finish, a sampling of some of the bountiful fruits and seedpods that round out the seasonal show.
Pawpaw ( Asimina triloba)—not quite ripe yet, but getting there How’s THAT for a seedpod? I’m hoping these sword beans ( Canavalia gladiata) will have time to mature before the first frost. Fish pepper ( Capsicum annuum ‘Fish’) These pods are pretty cool too. I should have lots of Cardiocrinum cordatum seeds available later this fall! Love in a puff ( Cardiospermum halicacabum) Another good year for the American persimmon ( Diospyros virginiana). I guess it’s not a fluke that this tree produces seedless fruits, as it has happened two years in a row now. Makes eating them very easy, but I would have loved to get the seeds too. No lack of spicebush ( Lindera benzoin) fruits—and seeds—this year Isn’t this a neat one? It’s the aptly named native perennial known as seedbox ( Ludwigia alternifolia) Ripening seeds on ‘Black Madras’ rice ( Oryza sativa) Pretty pods on Chinese lantern ( Physalis alkekengi) Yummy rugosa rose ( Rosa rugosa) hips Er…when I first saw this, I was admittedly taken aback. Then I realized, thanks to the new growth next to the “pile,” that it’s the seedpod of skunk cabbage ( Symlocarpus foetidus). Hardly ornamental, but actually quite exciting.
Not a bad show from a garden that I first thought was a total disaster. Now it’s time to get back to gathering more seeds before yet another round of rain. I hope that, wherever you live, you get to enjoy the best of whatever fall has to offer in your own garden!