The white bottle-brush flowers of Actea Simplex 'Hillside Black Beauty'
There was a time in my early gardening career when the fall season made me melancholy. I hated to see the growing season end, and I still do to some degree. These days, however, I admit that a break from pulling weeds isn't such a bad thing.
Over the years, I have learned to include a few plants in my garden that provide something to look at as the rest of the garden fades from sight until spring.
Thankfully, there are some good garden plants that don't begin blooming until the shorter days of autumn arrive.
One of my favorites is Aster tataricus.
Tatarian aster, as it is also known, is one of the more impressive fall-blooming asters. Hardy to zone 3, it grows anywhere from 3 to 6 feet tall, depending on soil conditions, and is sturdy enough that it does not need staking.
Flowering longer than other garden asters, its 1-inch wide pale lavender flowers have golden centers and are an important food source for a variety of insects.
Tatarian aster begins blooming in my garden in late September or early October and often stays in bloom into November. Provide this late bloomer with full sun and well-drained soil, and you will be rewarded with an abundance of late-season color.
Another late bloomer, Actaea simplex 'Hillside Black Beauty,' not only perks up the fall garden, but also puts on a dramatic display of near-black lacy foliage from spring until fall.
This fantastic perennial is hardy well into zone 4 and doesn't start showing signs of flowering until days begin to get noticeably shorter in the fall. Growing to a height of 4 to 6 feet when happy, Hillside Black Beauty forms dramatic clumps that are spectacular all season long, but it looks it's best when in bloom.
It produces small creamy-white flowers on long wand-like stems. Looking like bottle brushes floating above near black foliage, a well-established clump is a sight to behold. But the attributes of this season extender don't stop there: The flowers have a delightful fruity scent that seems to linger in the late-season air, especially in the evening.
Actea prefers to grow in well-drained soil that is rich in organic content. Plant it in partial shade and out of the hot sun. The largest clump I have is on the north side of an evergreen planting where it has a few hours of morning sun and a few hours of late afternoon sun.
To get the most bang for your buck when choosing garden plants, look for those that provide more than just one season of interest. Like Actea x 'Hillside Black Beauty,' Kirengeshoma palmata fits that bill nicely.
Native to the mountainous regions of Korea and
In the fall, the plant produces abundant clusters of anywhere from six to 10 pendulous, buttery yellow, waxlike flowers on long wiry stems.
I think this plant looks it's best just before the flowers actually open. For several weeks in early fall, kirengeshoma's buds slowly enlarge like miniature hot air balloons just before lifting off.
If you find you are not quite ready to put your garden to bed early in the fall, consider planting a few late season bloomers to keep the party alive!
Available at Amazon.com:
- Interesting Foliage and Fall Blooms Make These Perennials Winners
- Easy Design Ideas Create Intimate and Romantic Dining Room
- Your Pillow Could Be Robbing You Of a Good Night's Sleep
- Price Drops and Financing Options Boost the Appeal of Solar
- Late-Season Bloomers Keep the Garden Party Going
- Fall Is for Planting and Getting Good Deals at the Nursery
- Top 10 Cleaning Myths You Need to Know
- Sensual Fall Bedroom Fixes Emphasize Easy Opulence
- Introducing Privacy to Open Concept Living
- White Kitchen Redux Has Balanced and Timeless Appeal
- Are Net-Zero Energy Houses on the Horizon?
- Easy Home-value Boosters
- The $50 Living Room Makeover
- How to Revive Your Home in a Weekend
- The Planet-Friendly Kitchen
- 10 Great 'Green' Home Improvements for 2011
- Dog Days of August: Time to Think of Planting for Fall
- Top 10 Interior Decorating Mistakes
- Will This Home Renovation Pay Off?
- 9 Reasons to Buy a Newly Built Home
- Fur Fight: Taming Pet Hair in Your Home
- Insect Control Is for the Birds
- Blueberries From Your Own Backyard
- What's My Carbon Footprint?
- Reusing and Recycling 101
- Common Sources of Odor and How to Eliminate the Smell
- Agapanthus: A Beautiful Option for Busy Gardeners
- Here Comes the Sun: Don't Let Summer Heat Deter You from Gardening
- Tips To Help Keep Your Home Cool This Summer
- Accessorize Your Home Like a Pro
- A Personal Gym Brings Your Workout Home
- Small-Space Gardening: When the Back 40 Is on Your Porch Railing
- The Way You Water
- 6 Can't Fail Sofa Buying Tips
- Tips for Holding a Successful Garage Sale
- Open Shelves: Designer Trend or Decorating Disaster?
- Stars of the Garden Can Be Leafy Rather Than Blooming
- Cut Back on Summer Spending
- Make Dad's Day With a Customized Home Bar
- How to Lavish Less Labor and More Love on Your Garden
- Banish Bathroom Counter Clutter With Clever Storage
- Creating a Beautiful Garden Can Be as Easy as Getting Dressed in the Morning
- The (Air) Drying Chronicles
- Cooking Ranges: Should You Go Pro?
- Tweak Your Home Decor for Summer
- Some of the Best Gardening Happens Where the Sun Doesn't Shine
- How to Cut Your Air-Conditioning Costs
- Moving Day: 10 Ways to Take the Stress Out of Packing
- Feeling Overwhelmed by Garden Tasks? Make a List and Get to Work
- Time to Make Habitat for Returning Birds
- Create A Girl's Bedroom Fit For A Princess
- How Feng Shui Can Improve Your Life
- How Does Your Garden Grow?
- Go Green and Improve Happiness
- New Uses for Old Things: Household Odds and Ends
- Homeowner Savings Tips: What You Might Not Know
- Sure-to-Please Home Decorating Ideas
- Planting Strawberry Jars for Spring Color
- 5 Elements Guarantee a Perfect Outdoor Living Area
- Paint Your Kitchen 'Green' With These Eco-friendly Tips
- Trends in Painting: Is Faux Over?
- How to Have a Gorgeous and Organized Kitchen
- Shovel-Ready Project: Dividing Your Perennials
- Can Clutter Make You Sick?
- A Rose Is a Rose Is an Heirloom Rose
- Banquette Seating Makes For Cozy and Comfy Dining
- Controlling Dust in the Home Is a Never-Ending Task
- Fireplace Facelift Not a Job for the Faint of Heart
- Gorgeous and Glamorous Gray Goes the Distance
- Easy Eco-friendly Spring-cleaning
- 30 Top-To-Bottom Spring Cleaning Tips
- Too Cold to Plant? You Can Still Get Ahead of Garden Maintenance
- Area Rugs to the Rescue
- Rarin' to Get Planting? Here's What You Can Do Now
- Freshen Up Your House Whole House For Spring
- Don't Overlook Bulbs of Summer; Now Is Time to Plan Planting
- Time to Ready Your Backyard for Return of Avian Tenants
- You Can Pick Up Furniture Bargains In Unexpected Ways
- No Room for a Cellar? Create a Wine Closet
- Greener Living 101
- 5 Cheap and Easy Decorating Ideas
- Spring-cleaning Checklist for Your Health and Your House
- Teen Decor That Puts the Cool in School
- Late Winter Is Time for Pruning and Forcing
- Key to Extraordinary Garden: Starting Your Own Seeds
- Barclay Butera: Create Modern Rooms Simply By Changing the Walls
- Four Common Eco-mistakes
- Are Vinyl Shower Curtains Safe?
- Where to Save and Where to Spend on Interior Decorating
- Wanna Get Away? Tropical Plants Can Help
- 10 Sneaky Ways to Get Organized
- A Better Load of Laundry
- Everyday Chores Get Greener
- Soothe Winter's Chill With a Steam Shower
- Houseplants Add Life to Your Winter
- Is Your Bedroom Decor Keeping You up?
- Seed Catalogs Trumpet the Promise of Spring
- Turning Down the Thermostat? Your Cyclamen Will Thank You
- A Room With a View: Clever Decorating Can Improve Your Vista
- Get Your Kitchen Drawers Organized Once and For All
- 10 New Year's Resolutions For Your Living Space
- Fantastic Faux Finishes
- Evergreens Add Color: Interest in Otherwise Dull Winter Landscape
- What to Do in a Frozen Pipe Emergency
Copyright © 2011, TRIBUNE MEDIA SERVICES, INC