Late summer/early fall is a problem for me—and it may be for many of you as well. The problem is that I really, really hate so many of the plants that are recommended for this time slot. Autumn Joy sedum? Ew. Ornamental cabbage? Ew. MUMS? EW! EW! EW!
The persistence of my favorite annuals—as well as the blooms of such truly classy fall plants as sweet autumn clematis and Japanese anemone—help me make it through the late summer/fall months.
Perhaps nature’s plan is to make it easier for us to accept the passing of summer by choosing end-of-season plants that are so easy to relinquish. Yet, in some ways I love this season. I love the plants you’re not supposed to love: the non-native goldenrod, the toxic and invasive pokeweed, the wild asters. I seek these plants out and cut them for huge, sculptural arrangements, the purple stems and berries of the pokeweed contrasting with the sulphur yellow goldenrod, with the unruly sprays of wild boltonia as a backdrop. Indeed, one of my keenest pleasures of this time of year is to find and create such an arrangement.
When I do, I’ll post it here. It's early yet.