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Seasonal Transition: GBBD, September 2017

September 16, 2017

solidago volunteersIn Maine, the leaves have begun to turn and there is no mistaking the transition from summer to autumn in the garden. Although I love fall, I’m not quite ready to see summer go.

The daylilies that filled the garden with color in July are mostly gone, with just an occasional bloom on one of the late-blooming or re-blooming varieties like Lily Muster, Final Touch, Rosy Returns or Sandra Elizabeth.

Lily Munster 2017 Final touch september Sandra Elizabeth1

lavender SeptemberLavender also continues to bloom, but much more sparsely than it did in July. In most of the garden, Tradescantia virginiana has died back, but on the side slope it continues to put up new growth and make new flowers.

tradescantia september
geranium oxonianum september Other summer flowers are making a better show in September. The beautiful clear pink flowers of Geranium x oxonianum, which loves Maine’s cool climate, have been blooming continuously since June.
Spirea x bumalda ‘Neon Flash,’ added to the garden last year at the top of the side slope planting, has turned out to be a star, putting out a flush of new blooms just as most of the flowers growing around it are fading. Neon Flash September


Most of the summer phlox varieties that graced the garden in August are still hanging on, but their flowers look faded and blowsy.

September Phlox-002

Pinky Winky bloom Over the years, I have added fall-blooming flowers to the garden. The latest addition is the Hydrangea paniculata ‘Pinky Winky’ planted in the new rain garden. Although it is still quite small, I am enjoying its elegant flowers (which deserve a more dignified name).

September is the time when the sedums come into their own. The groundcover sedum ‘John Creech’ has been blooming for more than a month, but the taller sedums have just begun to flower. As their flowers mature they will first become more intense and then darker in hue. By October, most will be the color of wine.

September sedums 2017

Liatris novae-angliaeThe real stars of the fall garden, however, are all the varied members of the large Asteraceae (composite) family. Some of these have been planted in my garden; others are wildflower volunteers growing around the edges of the garden.

Echinacea purpurea ‘Magnus’ continues to bloom along the Lavender Walk, but the big show in September is provided by two varieties of Liatris blooming on the side slope. Liatris novae-angliae is on the left below and Liatris aspera is on the right, below. (A third species, L. spicata, bloomed in August  here and elsewhere in my garden.)

Liatris novae-angliae flowers Liatris aspera spike

goldenrod flowers SeptemberOutside the boundaries of the garden, this is the season for goldenrods and asters. I confess that I don’t always have the patience to key out and properly identify the many species of these plants growing on my property. I’m not sure which one this is, although I’m reasonably certain it is a Solidago. The more easily identified species below are Solidago bicolor (silverrod) on the left and Solidago squarrosa, with its characteristic narrow, upright inflorescence, on the right.

silverod 2017 solidago squarrosa

Ionactis linarifoliaI find the myriad asters even more confusing than the goldenrods. The easiest to identify is the stiff, flax-leaved aster (Ionactis linarifolia) which grows enthusiastically and blooms profusely in my sandy soil. This has lovely lavender flowers, which the camera has had trouble capturing. I am hoping to establish some of this in unamended soil at the bottom of the front slope planting that is next year’s big garden project.

Several other aster species grow at the edge of the woods along the side of the driveway.

September asters

Alma Potschke opening budsThe wild New England asters (Symphyotrichum novae-angliae) in my neighborhood have not yet begun to bloom. But in the garden, the popular cultivar ‘Alma Potschke’ is just beginning to open her buds.

Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day is hosted on the 15th of each month (although some of us are habitually late to the party!) by Carol at May Dreams Gardens. Visit her blog to see September blooms from far and near.

13 Comments leave one →
  1. Joanna @ Gingham Gardens permalink
    September 16, 2017 9:44 pm

    Jean, lovely photos. You still have lots of color. Things are really dry here and I’m getting tired of watering. I’m enjoying the last of the flowers though cause it won’t be long now until they’re gone.

    • September 25, 2017 9:46 pm

      Joana, the color is in small patches rather than big clumps, but there’s still lots to enjoy on my daily walk through the garden. It’s been dry here, too; each day, I empty my dehumidifier bucket in a different part of the garden.

  2. September 17, 2017 4:01 pm

    Your September garden is exceptionally pretty, Jean. All the work you’ve put into the garden during the last few years is showing. And if the phlox looks faded and blowsy, I don’t see it. I can understand wanting to hang onto summer in your climate but here we’re looking forward to fall – of course, I suppose our “cooler” fall temperatures (mid-to-upper 70s) may be akin to your summer ones.

    • September 25, 2017 9:49 pm

      Kris, LOL, I didn’t photograph the parts of the phlox that had already gone by; easy enough to find one pretty good looking flower head to focus my camera on. Almost all the phlox are gone by now, but the cultivated asters have begun to bloom.

  3. September 17, 2017 6:18 pm

    Gorgeous colours and photos. We grow goldenrod as a dye plant for wool I haven’t come across silver rod before. Thanks for the garden update looking lovely and I don’t want the summer to end just yet either!

    • September 25, 2017 9:51 pm

      I can’t take any credit for either the goldenrod or the silverrod; they just show up from seed carried on the wind. I’m particularly fond of the Solidago bicolor, and I’m happy to see them spreading around my property.

  4. September 18, 2017 8:45 am

    Hello Jean, I think we’re neck-and-neck at this point, the Solidagos I’ve seen here are finishing up and some plants are having a second or late flush but the days are getting shorter and the night-time temperatures are getting into single figures so I’m already thinking about clearing the patio and protecting plants for the coming winter.

    • September 25, 2017 9:53 pm

      Sunil, We’re having a reprise of summer here this week, with hot days and overnight temperatures about what the daytime highs should be at this time of year — so I’m not ready to think about bringing in container plants yet.

  5. debsgarden permalink
    September 18, 2017 11:02 pm

    Your sedums also are so beautiful! This summer has flown by, but I am ready for the cooler temps and lovely colors of autumn. I agree the ‘Pinky Winky’ needs a more dignified name! I often wonder how some of these plant names come to be. I can guess on this one, but really!

    • September 25, 2017 9:54 pm

      Deb, I love watching the sedums change color as fall progresses. Right now, the cultivated asters are also providing glorious clouds of color (and nectar for the bees).

  6. September 19, 2017 4:27 pm

    Jean you have so much blooming in September…including lavender. I have one plant that continues too. Our fall has been replaced by summer again for 2 weeks and it will last right to the end of Sept. I would love to get back to those warm (not hot) fall days.

    • September 25, 2017 9:57 pm

      Donna, the lavender has been blooming continuously for many weeks — although not as profusely as it did in July. We’re also under that ridge of hot, humid weather — which is definitely not inspiring me to get my firewood stacked!

  7. October 11, 2017 5:31 pm

    We had a something squarrosa on our botanical hike this morning … need to sort and name my photos while I can still work out which it was!

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