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Fall Flowers: GBBD, September 2021

September 17, 2021

Front garden from above sept.In mid-September, fall is in the air in Maine; my garden is well past the peak of its summer display as plants prepare for winter dormancy. The dozens of daylily (Hemerocallis) varieties blooming in July have dwindled to a few buds on a handful of very late varieties like ‘Sandra Elizabeth’ and ‘Rosy Returns.’

Sandra Elizabeth last bloom Rosy Returns

Other flowers, however, have continued to bloom through summer and into fall. These include the hot pink flowers of Spiraea bumalda x ‘Neon Flash,’ purple poppy mallows (Callirhoe involucrata), the clear pink flowers of Geranium x oxonianum, and the bright orange blooms of butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa).

long-blooming fall flowers

Herbstsonne with balloon flowersOther flowers come into their own at this time of year. This is the season when the tall Rudbeckia x ‘Herbstsonne’ shines at the back of the blue and yellow border, combined here with the blues of balloon flower (Platycodon grandiflorus) and globe thistle (Echinops ritro ‘Veitch’s Blue’).

backlit herbstsonne echinops flowers

This is also the time of year for sedums. ‘Matrona’ is blooming in the back garden, and ‘Neon’ is flowering in the front garden.

Sedum Matrona 2021 Sedum neon 2021
sedum volunteer I even have a volunteer sedum (probably Hylotelephium telephium) that has grown for many years at the edge of the woods but whose vivid flowers are blooming for the first time this year.

Autumn is also the season for asters. Normally, the showy New England asters (Symphyotrichum novae-angliae) that are creating splashes of color along the sides of the roads at this time of year would also be blooming in my garden. Alas, these have been a favorite food of this summer’s resident woodchuck, which has left behind lots of broken, largely denuded stems. (This morning, though, I noticed a few aster buds that somehow escaped woodchuck teeth and are beginning to open, so I still have hope for some New England asters in the garden this year.) Happily, other native asters have been of less interest to my problem woodchuck. I have flax-leaved asters (Ionactis linarifolia) blooming in many parts of the garden, and a volunteer heart-leaved aster (Symphyotrichum cordifolium) is flowering by the back steps.

flax-leafed aster heart-leafed aster

Iron butterfly with coreopsisEven better, late-blooming ironweed Vernonia lettermanii ‘Iron Butterfly,’ which usually struggles to open its flowers before frost, is blooming early this year, perhaps given a jump-start by our exceptionally hot June weather.

Iron butterfly flowers

Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day is hosted each month by Carol Michel at May Dreams Gardens. Visit her website for links to September flowers in many other gardens.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. September 17, 2021 1:49 pm

    I was surprised to see you still have daylilies blooming, Jean. I love the Vernonia, which to my knowledge doesn’t grow here. Best wishes.

    • September 30, 2021 11:08 am

      Kris, Over the years, I’ve added some very late daylilies to my garden. As September gives way to October, and we still haven’t had frost, ‘Richard’ and ‘Rosy Returns’ still have some buds left to open.

  2. Anonymous permalink
    September 17, 2021 6:57 pm

    Lovely as always.

  3. September 21, 2021 2:35 pm

    Hello Jean, it looks like we both have Rudbeckia and Sedums still flowering. We’ll both have Enchinops too once mine get going (I’ve only just planted them out). There’s definitely a hint of autumn in the air and I’m now closing the greenhouses at night as the temperature dips into single figures.

    • September 30, 2021 11:17 am

      Sunil, I just added Echinops this year, too, and I’m looking forward to a bigger display from them in years to come. The temperatures have gotten suddenly colder here this week; soon, we will get our first frost and only the hardiest plants (and those in protected locations) will continue to bloom.

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