August 19, 2011

Perennials That Carry Your Garden From Summer To Fall

Most, if not all of us gardeners, have experienced a lull in our garden's glory during the summer.  Many plants are done blooming by then and others are not quite ready to start.  Sometimes too we find that everything seems to be blooming the same color.  Yellow is big in July.  Here are three suggestions to help keep color and interest in your garden during that transitional period from summer to fall.

* Perennial Black-eyed Susan (Rudbekia fulgida or its cultivars):
This is an upright plant with bright yellow daisy-like flowers and a brown cone (despite the name).  It will bloom in full to part sun. It does spread quite a bit however, so be sure you have the space.  That being said, it is a good candidate for tough spots such as along alleys or high traffic areas.  And it is very easy to transplant. 

* Wood Aster (Aster divaricata):
For full to part shade, consider this underappreciated gem.  It is a native with small, white daisy-like flowers blushed with pink, and gorgeous mahogany stems. It starts upright but its nature is to cascade.  Let it ramble among other perennials or plant it under shrubs.  

* Heuchera villosa 'Citronelle' : Heucheras also go by the name Coral Bells.  This harkens back to the days when the flowers bloomed in coral but the leaves were green.  Many, many hybrids have been bred now for their colored leaves (although they often have ivory blooms). Not all the early hybrids showed vigor, especially some in chartreuse.  'Citronelle' is a chartreuse heuchera bred from the native villosa species which tolerates our heat and humidity well.  It stays bold even in full shade. What has really impressed me in using this in gardens is how the color hangs on very late in to the season. 

If you have favorites that hang on or at least make the transition more colorful, please share them here.