There was a time when the first day of fall brought a deep melancholy. The cooler temperatures could only mean that it was time to resign oneself to pots of mums.
Don't get me wrong: I adore mums. I love the way they look on my front steps. I love their distinct fragrance. And I love the feelings they invoke of warm, cozy nights by the fire, pumpkin pie with whipped cream and all the other delights autumn has to offer. But over the years I have learned that mums aren't the only options for fall blooms.
Two Toad Lily "White Towers" are blooming for me for the first time. Purchased last fall at an end-of-season sale, it's absolutely thrilling to see them at their best just as everything else in the garden is going kaput. Best of all, the plants are bursting with buds suggesting several more weeks of flowers. I can definitely see adding more of these to the shade garden.
The bugbane looks quite lovely covered with hundreds of tiny, round flower buds. The arching flower stem is beginning to straighten up and reach for the sky. I knew that bugbane was a late bloomer but I had no idea how late. I'm hoping for something very impressive come October. Like the toad lilies, the bugbane was a late-season addition last fall.
The hot pink of the sedum spectabile "Neon" is starting to fade. Here it is growing next to the extraordinarily fragrant calamint. I didn't plan this combination but quite like it. The sturdiness of the sedum is a nice contrast to the airy calamint.
Another plant that produces a very delicate and airy effect is white snakeroot. This native has really won me over for its carefree attitude and its irrepressible fall display. A warning though: I left the seed-heads on the plant last year. It reseeded itself everywhere. And I do mean everywhere!!! Fortunately the seedlings were easy to pull. I plan to keep growing it and to use it in some garden trouble spots but I will definitely take the shears to the spent flowers to prevent an all out invasion.
As the sunshine begins to make itself scarce, Black-Eyed Susans provide the perfect sunshine supplement. I have had mixed feelings about the Susans. I haven't always appreciated them for reasons I can't quite put my finger on. This year, however, they are looking especially spectacular.
Finally, the workhorse of the garden, Geranium "Rozanne" is still producing an abundance of blooms. She's slowing down a bit but even so "Rozanne" is still going strong toward the finish line. I'm just so happy that so many others are right there alongside "Rozanne" keeping the melancholy at bay and making sure that autumn is bursting with blooms.