In this first week of autumn I realize there’s nothing new left to come up in the garden – no new flower buds to open, no new unfurling of leaves, no more sudden growth spurts of stalk and stem. The final Hollyhock flowers – those at the very tip of six or seven foot spikes – are blooming; Goldenrod is going to seed; Hosta leaves are yellowing and somewhat bedraggled.
Before I start to think and rave about the changing colours in our forest canopies and tree lines (or about raking up fallen leaves!), and before I set about in earnest collecting seeds for next year’s garden, I want to savour the beauty of these early fall favourites. Thanks to Chloris in England who writes The Blooming Garden for encouraging this regular check-in of favourite flowers!
1 – Turtlehead – Chelone glabra — I’ve struggled but so far failed to get a good picture of this native perennial. Not too sure why, but all the close-ups turn out fuzzy so I can’t show you how bees love to force their way into the purple, snap dragon-like flowers, buzz around for a bit then force their way out again. I’ve had to move this clump around a few times so it’s not that large; hoping it’ll be happy in this spot, shaded by variegated Dogwood (Cornus alba ‘Elegantissima’):
2 – Garlic Chives – Allium tuberosum – like regular chives but with flat leaves and a more garlicky than oniony flavour. I love them because the white flowers open late in the year and are often swarmed by bees. I started this clump from seed – this is its second year, much slower to get going than regular chives – and will collect seed to start more clumps all over:
3 & 4 – Evening Primrose – Oenothera biennis – this is the native species, not the domesticated variety often sold in garden centres. They can get very tall or sprawl close to the ground. A beautiful, vibrant yellow to contrast nicely with New England Aster (Symphyotrichum novae-angliae). They spring up all over here because I often let them go to seed – but they’re easy to pull up where not wanted:
5 – Colchicum – this is the ‘The Giant’ variety – I’ve posted before about them – just can’t stop myself. This time next year the Veronica ‘Whitley’s Speedwell’ (the low growing ground cover on the left) will have spread over the mulch, providing a gorgeous bed for the purple petals:
6 – Sedum spectabile “Autumn Joy” – not a native but bees of all sorts still love ’em! A staple of my garden with its many very dry areas:
7 – Reblooming tall bearded Iris – new to me this year thanks to a generous friend — I don’t know the variety of this Iris (does anyone??) but it had a huge show, as expected, in the spring. It’s been sending up flower stalks again for the past three weeks with enough buds to last another month: