A Fall Welcome from My Maine Garden
For the past 15 years, I’ve been managing to get home to Maine about once a month during the fall semester. My first trip back since I left for Gettysburg in August happened two weeks ago, just in time for the fall equinox.
I never know what I’m going to find in the garden at this time of year. Will sensitive plants have already been nipped by frost? Will the fall-blooming Hemerocallis still be in bloom? What about the summer phlox? Will the reblooming daylilies be in bloom again? Will the delphiniums be enjoying a second flush of flowers?
I arrived too late at night to really see what was going on; but when I went out to the garden first thing in the morning, I found that frost had not yet visited and a number of plants were still blooming. The fall-blooming sedums were, of course doing well, both “’Autumn Joy’ (pictured above) and ‘Matrona’ (shown here). It was more of a surprise that two delphinium varieties had flowers – even if some of them were lying on the ground because no gardener had been around to stake them.
I was also happy to see the last few flowers of Phlox paniculata ‘David’ and ‘Blue Paradise.’ These were a special treat because the plants were repeatedly eaten by the resident woodchuck early in the summer and had not yet begun to bloom when I left in August. Other “last blooms” were found on Heliopsis helianthoides and on balloon flower (Platycodon grandiflorus).
I was surprised not to find any daylilies blooming, although there were still a few unopened buds on ‘Final Touch’ and ‘Autumn Minaret.’ I also did not find any morning glories blooming on the garden fence – but I could see the seed pods of flowers gone by on the vines. These provide an encouraging promise of morning glories to enjoy next year, when I will be living here full time.
The late-blooming Rudbeckia x ‘Herbstsonne,’ on the other hand, was still going strong. And so were the flowers of Heuchera ‘Raspberry Ice,’ which have bloomed continuously all summer long.
Elsewhere in the garden, I was delighted to see all the plants in the new raised bed looking happy and healthy and as though they had grown since I left. I think this bed may fill in nicely by next summer.
Here and there around my property, patches of pale lavender wild asters were blooming. Other signs of fall included the seed pods of Platycodon and Liatris and the first hints of fall color in the foliage of rhododendron.
Fall is my favorite time in New England, and I’m looking forward to an upcoming October visit to my Maine garden. What I’m looking forward to far more, however, is the promise of all those New England falls to come as I retire from teaching and go back to living year-round in Maine.