My fall garden always surprises me. This is ridiculous since I'm the one that planted everything. I shouldn't be caught off guard by how much is blooming but I am. I get so busy with the start of the school year that I lose track of what's happening and stand on my patio in my pajamas come Saturday, amazed at it all.
These little 'Dream of Beauty' asters were advertised as needing the ever elusive 'Moist but well drained soil'. However, when I gave them the closest thing to it I could, they almost died. They want to be hot and dry.
Monarch on the verbena bonariensis
I've had numerous Monarchs in my garden this year
and five fat little caterpillars munching on the milkweed.
These tiny 'Snow Flurry' asters are cast iron tough. Any plant that can handle being stepped on by me and peed on by my four dogs is a keeper.
They are super low growers that can handle dry, bright partial shade.
Native white wood asters (eurybia divaricatus) grow through the variegated 'Autumn Charm' sedum. Both grow well in dry, bright partial shade, too. The wood asters are floppers and leaners so if you don't want them lying on the ground, let them ramble over a cooperative companion.
Northern sea oats, Solomon's Seal, sedum, blue stemmed solidago (solidago caesia), and asters in the shade garden.
Yellow annual begonias thrived in this shady urn next to the massive Rose of Sharon. I always thought these were fussy plants but they were easy easy easy.
More white wood asters grow through blue plumbago under the Rose of Sharon. Both of these are outrageously tough plants, which is a requirement for staying in my garden. I have a strict "No Whining and No Divas" rule.
'Piglet' pennisetum and blue mist flower
Blue mist flower grows every where in my garden, especially in the moist, sunny beds along the rain garden. It spreads quickly and I end up ripping it out by the handfuls every fall to keep it from taking over. But it's so pretty I always leave more than I pull.
Native Short's asters are another fall bloomer that grow well in dry, bright partial shade. These quickly grew to be almost four feet tall. They might need to be renamed.
These soft yellow zinnias were supposed to be three feet tall but never got the memo and are five feet tall instead. Overachievers.
'Serenade' Japanese anemones need less water than most anemones, which automatically gives them the coveted designation of Super Fabulous Plant of Amazingness.
I recently extended the sunny side garden by a few feet in depth. Since my dogs can't resist freshly turned soil or compost, I covered the extension with straw to help minimize the amount of soil they track into the house. Fall rains will help this area settle and the straw will decompose. After I've redesigned part of this bed, thinned out all the seedlings, and filled in the new areas, I'll mulch over the straw to keep the plants from heaving this winter. I still need to remove the sod by the river bed.
I'm going to extend this area by another foot, but that's as far as I can go. My dogs have an invisible path that takes them from the patio to the dog run, where they chase squirrels and bark at birds. If I move the garden into their path, they'll just run everything over.
I have a huge container garden that I've been working on for years to get just right. This area becomes a wind tunnel during summer storms and everything I've ever planted there has been smashed or knocked sideways. But the miscanthus 'Little Zebra' has held up so well, I'm adding another one. Plastic tulips were the only other option.
This is a mid-sized lespedeza that I cut back every year. If we have a snowy winter, I can pile this spot outside my garage with snow without having to worry about crushing my plants. This plant was only 8 inches tall in March. It looks like a giant pink octopus but I find that charming.
I love how cool these flowers are.
Is that more blue mist flower?
'Matrona' sedum and knautia with even more blue mist flower in the background
I planted this fragrant 'Fair Rosamond' clematis this spring and it finally bloomed.
And now for something completely different.... white mist flowers!
Fall blooming 'Starman' geraniums grow alongside blue and white mist flowers. Actually, half the garden grows alongside blue mist flowers.
In a plant smackdown, native obedient plant would smother blue mist flowers and leave them screaming for mercy. This plant will gladly take over your garden but the pollinators love it so I give it room to run.
Seed grown gomphrena without a blue mist flower in sight.