Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Late Blooming Perennials

This is the time of year when perennial gardens are running out of steam and customers come in looking for something that is “...blooming right now.” Unfortunately a lot of the late bloomers are also very tall, so hard to sell late in pots.

Artemisia lactiflora is a nice early fall bloomer.

Unlike most artemisias, this plant is not invasive and it can grow in moist soil. I use the feathery sprays of blooms in fall bouquets.

The species of Joe Pye Weed (Eupatorium purpureum) spreads quickly and can be unmanageable. I like the cultivar, ‘gateway’ which is bushier than the species. I was also excited about the possibilities of ‘Little Joe’ eupatorium, advertised as a “dwarf” version , 3 - 4’ tall, but it’s still at least 5’ tall in my gardens.

In the foreground of the above photo is one of my favorites - ‘Lorraine sunshine’ heliopsis. One of my customers says: “This plant makes me smile.” It has great variegated foliage which has not yet reverted back to green. The flowers are long lasting, making it nice for the garden and bouquets.

Last but not least, is one of my favorites - Purple Showers viola. Often, and it is the case this year, this perennial blooms the entire growing season. It’s grown from cuttings, so doesn’t spread all over the place by self-seeding. Rather it remains in manageable clumps of color. I’ve been using it as a cut flower for small bouquets. It has been called the “energizer bunny” of violas.

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