Plants can show us how to have resolve in the face of challenges.
Whether it was our record May rain falls or the Summer long drought we experienced after it, my garden is still alive.
The best garden plants have this habit of adapting and making it through whatever nature (and negligent gardeners who don’t have time to bother watering-like me) throw at it. Not only do they survive, they still share with us their beauty.
Now as we head into a Fall full of uncertainty, it is reassuring to see plants like Asters bloom like the they always do.
Here are a few of my favorite late Summer- early Fall bloomers.
Big Leaf Aster
Boy it’s only the first one and I am already kind of cheating. I could not write another post that included asters and not mention this Mid Summer (into Fall) bloomer.
Big leaf aster has big course leaves that act as a nice groundcover in the shade. Then they shoot up in height and bloom their long lasting (over 6 weeks in my yard) white flowers.
They look great in mass with purple coneflower as this picture from my yard on Aug shows.
This shade to sun lover is a prolific flower-er and seeder. I am amazed at how far away from it’s parent that I end up finding these seedlings. They are cute when 3 inches tall and blooming with a few little blooms that first year. They are also easy to spot and pull out.
I saved the best aster for last. This huge shrub like sun lover is my favorite. I grew these from seed about 3 years ago and now they are 3 foot wide beauties. They will open up in the middle unless you shear them by half in June. This is an easy task well worth the effort.
I appreciate the fine textured mound of foliage that covers the ground shading out weeds in the Summer.
I also appreciate the size they grow to. As a landscape designer, one of these perennials can take the space of 3 or 5 smaller perennials This helps me fill out designs with a few less plants and save client’s a bit of money.
If you don’t want to bother with shearing these every year to control their height and tidy up their form, there is a cultivar, October Skies that is for you. It stays about 18″ tall and keeps a nice mounded shape on it’s own. It is well worth looking for.
How could I end a post about late summer to fall bloomers and not include this non native blooming beauty.
The blooms on calamints are small and white, but they are both loved by pollinators and seem to never end as they start in the Summer and go till frost.
If you want this pollinator friendly non-native, please just get the straight species (Calamintha neptea ssp. neptea) or the cultivar ‘Montrose’and not the self-seeding monsters, ‘White Cloud’ or ‘Blue Cloud’.
I planted the combo blue stemmed goldenrod and shorts aster 15 years ago! How great it is to see them together in your picture! I did something right!!
Chris S says
Thanks for the info about asters. I appreciate your posts. I am in zone 4 and slowly filling the sandy shady lawn with perennial edibles and flowering medicinals and butterfly/bee and bird favorites. It’s nice to work on something that improves each year! Not at all like paycheck work, haha.