Saturday, September 20, 2008
The un-mum brigade
As I gaze at the tangled, going-to-seed mess that is my main sunny gardening bed (above), or walk through the slug-ravaged side and front shade beds, there are spots of cheery color that I know will continue to provide pleasure through October. And they aren’t mums.
There’s no need to get into all the reasons I find mums unsatisfactory; most of you have seen my mum rants. I’d rather talk about the plants that—for me—more than ably substitute as late-season solutions. Some of them are perennials like Japanese anemone and boltonia (at top). Some of them are summer shrubs like hydrangeas. Hydrangea fall color is perfect, and it’s fun to watch the slow process of change. Here you see my Alpenglow in high summer (above) and then in fall:
Foliage plants seem to transition into fall particularly well. I have a bunch of them including these coleus and colocasia (above) and this colocasia hybrid (below) that really has only come into its own in the last few weeks.
And, hell, I’ll take an impatiens over a mum any day. (BTW, I don’t mean the exotic mums you can see in garden shows. Those are magnificent. I mean the ordinary ones that you see in garden centers everywhere now.) These Fusion impatiens have performed nonstop since June and they’ll keep it up until frost.
When November hits, I am busy composting leaves and planting bulbs. My mind is the on the future and I don’t need to look at a few (now quickly browning) mums to keep my spirits up. Not to mention that the fall tree color we have here in Western New York is another reason not to worry too much about fall garden color.
Are you visiting from the GWA conference? Take a look at the Perennial Posts at right. They’re a sampling of my favorites.