Fall is definitely my favorite season. The weather is perfect — the days are warm and the nights are cool. One of the things I like most about the fall is the fall blooming perennials. While most people think about the plethora of spring and summer blooming perennials, but the fall bloomers are standouts. Most of the fall blooming perennials are tall, stately, and bring deep purples, rusts, scarlet, and gold colors to the garden’s color palette.
One of my favorite fall bloomers is the Japanese Anemone. This part shade late summer to mid fall blooming perennial has pink and white flowers that resemble poppies. The anemone’s dark green foliage are also a great asset to the garden throughout the summer.
Another fall bloomer for the shade garden is cimicfuga or bugbane. The plant’s foliage is finely cut and fern-like. Bugbane produces white flowers on tall (three plus feet) stems during the late summer/fall. Newer varieties can also be found with chocolate colored foliage.
My favorite native fall perennial is Eupatorium, or Joe Pye Weed. I remember being introduced to this plant during college field work my sophomore year at school. It was a beautiful sight in the fields and meadows during September. In the garden this mauve blooming flower makes a wonderful backdrop to the garden border. Newer varieties have been bred shorter and less weedy, but still have the same dense mop heads of the original variety.
Another fall blooming perennial, that in my opinion, is under used is goldenrod. Goldenrod produces an abundance of tiny yellow flowers each August that last throughout the fall. Goldenrod is a great plant for those hard hot-spots in your garden. This plant thrives in full sun even if the soil is dry and infertile.
I could go on and on with more fall blooming perennials — asters, pink turtlehead, mums, coneflowers, sneezeweed, sedums, black eyed susans and more! Adding a few of these fall beauties to your perennial beds is a great way to make the gardening season last longer!
Anne Lenox Barlow is a professional horticulturist who enjoys gardening with her family in Plattsburgh. She also chronicles her gardening experiences at her blog www.northcountrygarden.wordpress.com. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.