Friday, November 21, 2014

My Garden: Summer into Fall

Snow began to fall last Sunday bringing the 2014 gardening season
 come to an abrupt conclusion for me. 

What a spring, summer and fall it has been in my garden! What is that oh-so-familar quote? Change is the only constant.

Three big trees came down in June and suddenly there was sun where previously there was shade.

The view along the picket fence last summer.

In August the city redid the sidewalk at the front of the house making it wider. I figure that I lost six to twelve inches of garden along the white picket fence. The workers who relaid the concrete sidewalk slabs were respectful of my garden, but the plants still suffered horribly. My late summer display of blooms was not at all up to its usual splendour.

Sadly, I don't think it will ever look this good again!

My picture taking in late summer and fall was spotty at best. 

Here is a sampling of those images. It is a bit of a long post, but I figure you will only read up on the plants that happen to catch your eye.

Phlox paniculata 'Nicky', yellow Rudbeckia, Caryopteris divaricata 'Snow Fairy' 
and Agastache 'Blue Fortune'

Late August

Phlox paniculata 'Nicky': Nicky's deep plum color makes it a great companion for late summer Rudbeckia and Echinacea. Full sun or light shade. Height: 90-120 cm (36-48 inches), Spread: 60-90 cm (24-36 inches). USDA Zones: 4-9.

Phlox paniculata 'David's Lavender': I think this has become one of my favourite varieties of phlox. The flowers are a lovely lavender-mauve. Full sun or light shade (mine is in light shade). Average to moist growing conditions. Height: 90-120 cm (36-48 inches), Spread: 60-90 cm (24-36 inches). USDA Zones: 4-9.

Agastache 'Blue Fortune': Height: 60-75 cm (20-30 inches), Spread: 45- 60 cm (18-23 inches). Full sun or light shade. Normal, sandy or clay soil are fine. Average, dry or moist growing conditions. Zones: USDA 2-9

White Joe Pye Weed, Eupatorium altissimum 'Prairie Jewel': is pretty, but unlike the pink forms of Joe Pye Weed, 'Prairie Jewel' flops on rather weak stems. As you can see here in this picture, 'Prairie Jewel' ended up leaning heavily on the Agastache in front of it. Next year I must remember to support it properly. 'Prairie Jewel' blooms later than the pink varieties I grow and is a welcome addition to my fall garden. Height: 60-90 cm (24-36 inches), Spread: 60- 90 cm (24-36 inches). Full sun. Average to moist growing conditions. Zones: USDA 4-9.


Phlox paniculata 'Creme de Menthe': blooms a little later than many of the other varieties of phlox in my garden. One of its best features are its green leaves with cream colored margins. Full sun or light shade. Height: 90-120 cm (36-48 inches), Spread: 60-90 cm (24-36 inches). USDA Zones: 4-9.

Agastache 'Blue Fortune' in late September.

Agastache now brown and dry at the end of October

Joe Pye Weed, Eupatorium dubium' Little Joe'


Dwarf Perennial Sunflower, Helianthus 'Happy Days': I think it is about time I cut this poor plant some slack. Though I like to experiment with new plants, I am always a bit apprehensive when a perennial is unfamiliar. It's a case of once bitten twice shy: I have enough problems already with aggressive plants like lily of the valley and goutweed.  

I was suspicious the moment I removed 'Happy Days' from its nursery pot and saw long white roots wrapping around the root ball. Worried that it might be yet another vigorous spreader, I planted it in one of my raised beds where it could only travel so far. It has been in the garden for 3 years now and seems fairly well behaved. It has not spread wildly, but it does seem to shift its location slightly each year; preferring to move to a fresh spot each spring.

Height: 55-60 cm (22-24 inches), Spread: 45-60 cm (18-23 inches). My plant is in light shade. Average to moist well-drained soil. Water well until established. It blooms for at least a month when deadheaded. Zones: USDA 4-9



Rudbeckia triloba 'Prairie Glow' : This plant is relatively new to my garden. When it came up this spring, I did not recognize the stems or leaves and almost pulled it out as a weed! But the neat plum colored stems made me hesitate and I am glad I held off. 
This is a new selection of Rudbeckia with bi-color blooms. It is a short-lived perennial with a tendency to reseed itself as it did in my garden. It is easy to grow in average or moist, well-drained soil. It is tall, and a bit floppy, so it is good to give it some support. Full sun. Height: 90-120 cm ( 36-48 inches), Spread: 60-90 cm (24-36 inches) . USDA Zones 3-10.

Rusty wondering when I am going to stop taking pictures and go inside to get his breakfast.


Anemone hupehensis 'Prince Henry': After a few failed attempts, I think I have finally found a good spot for growing anemones. My plant is just a year old, but is doing well. I have high hopes for lots more flowers next summer. 'Prince Henry' likes rich fairly moist soil and part shade. Height 60-80 cm (20-30 inches), Spread: 60-90 cm (20-35 inches) USDA Zones 5-9.

Hollyhock Mallow, Malva sylvestris 'Purple Satin': This was an impulse purchase made this spring. I have always admired the self-seeded Mallows growing wild in the neighbourhood. They flower long after most other plants have succumbed to frost. The Mallows growing in wild patches here are relatively compact, so I was somewhat unprepared for the monstrous size of 'Purple Satin'. This plant reaches 3-4 feet! Even a tomato cage could not keep it upright.
Malva sylvestris 'Purple Satin': is a biennial that likes to reseed itself. Maroon flowers appear in mid-summer and continue well into the fall. Full sun. Height: 150 cm ( 3-4'), Spread 45-60 cm (18-24 inches). Average to moist water needs. USDA Zones: 4-9.
Note: I also grew some Mallow from seed and learned the hard way that Malva sylvestris seedlings hate being moved, so plant it where you want it to grow. 


Phlox paniculata 'Bright Eyes': Full sun or light shade. Average to moist growing conditions. Height: 60-75 cm (20-30 inches), Spread: 45-60 cm (18-24 inches). USDA Zones: 4-9.

Sorry, this is one of my oldest clumps of phlox and I am not sure of the cultivar.

I have to ask: Does this....

 ...look anything like this? 

I added Rosa 'Palmengarten Frankfurt' this spring, but the blooms don't look anything near as nice as the ones on this fine specimen at the Royal Botanical Garden in Hamilton. Even the shape of the flowers seems slightly off.

Perhaps time will tell.

I also a number of groundcover roses to my raised beds and a Hybrid Musk rose 
I have long admired called 'Belinda'.

Sedum spectabile 'Neon' with another clump of Agastache 'Blue Fortune'

Sedum spectabile 'Neon': This Sedum has light green foliage and magenta-pink flowers.  Full sun. Like all Sedums, it is attractive to butterflies. Height: 45-60 cm (18-23 inches) Spread: 45-60 cm (18-23 inches). USDA Zones: 2-9

Sedum 'Pure Joy': has a low, rounded mound of blue-green foliage and pale pink flowers. Grow it in poor to average well-drained soil. Full sun. Height: 20-30 cm (10-12 inches) Spread: 45-50 cm (18-20 inches). USDA Zones: 4-9.

Early October

One of the things I love about Sedum is the way to changes color as the weather gets colder. I am not certain if this is Sedum 'Autumn Fire' or Sedum 'Autumn Joy'.

 Lobelia x speciosa 'Dark Crusader' and Lobelia siphilitica 'Alba'

 Last year I added three different varieties of Lobelia. They all bloomed for the first time this summer- not a spectacular display, but it is bound to get better with time.

Great Blue Lobelia or Cardinal Flower, Lobelia siphilitica 

Ironweed, Vernonia gigantea: is a skyscraper of a plant. Fairly new to my garden, there were exactly three stems crowned with purple flowers this summer. Height: 180-210 cm, 
Spread: 90-100 cm Full sun. It prefers moist soil, but my plant has average moisture only. 

Pokeweed, Phytolacca americana: One final tall perennial. This is Pokeweed a plant native to northern and central North America. I have one plant that is about 6' or 7' tall. When they first appear in spring, the young shoots of the plant are edible (often refereed to as "poke sallet"). 

Parts of the mature plant and berries however, are poisonous (so not a great plant choice if you have kids). Pokeweed has outrageously colored magenta stems and berries that hang like grapes. At first the berries are green in color and then magenta. As they mature, they darken to plum and finally become shinny black.

A word of warning: I grow this Pokeweed because I love tall plants and I think the stems and black berries are neat. I am really, really careful not to let the berries fall to the ground. Each little berry has tons of seeds. What is a cool plant could easily become a big problem if you are not really careful.

Fall was lovely here, but it disappeared far too quickly. So many chores remained unfinished! 
Oh well. There is always next year.

Have yourself a wonderful weekend!


  1. Holy cow!!! Your garden pictures look like they came out of a coffee table book, they are stunning!! The garden in front of your picket fence is so beautiful, well it's all beautiful. Thanks for all the good plant info, now there are even more plants I'd like to find and consider ! There's always work left undone but we always say too " there's always next year!"

  2. Jennifer girl ... I am always in awe of your pictures and garden (Rusty is a cutie pie too!)
    I'm sorry the sidewalk renovation was hard on that section of the garden ... it always looks so amazing to me, picture perfect in fact.
    I have often wondered about "ironweed" , I haven't seen it offered here but it may be from the mail order side. I will have to sparingly order next year because I sincerely do not have much room or any for expansion any more .. BIG sigh !
    This year went by way too fast ... it is almost a garden blur to me .. I have to go over my box of tags and make notes so I don't ruin any plantings with my Spring enthusiasm ! LOL
    Lovely post !
    Joy : )

  3. You have so many beautiful plants that I am unable to grow and they do so wonderfully for you. The garden looks absolutely splendid.

  4. Wonderful flower pictures and some beautiful combinations in your garden, it must be a lovely garden! Rusty is really worried about his breakfast, look at his face.....
    Wish you a Happy weekend!

  5. Jennifer I needed this many flowers I am overdosing on them especially the phlox....I am not sure I have a favorite but then I spied the white lobelia...would love it in my white garden but doubt it would grow well there...oh will it will be fun trying to find it. Indeed autumn was shortened by the polar vortex.

  6. With the cold & snow outside your fall garden pics were a refreshing delight :)

  7. WOW!! Loved wandering through the flower gardens with you! It's nice to see colour again ... I feel like we've had this snow for months already! White, white, white. We still have quite a few trees with leaves yet to come down, and lots of leaves buried under the snow that didn't get raked up in time. Yes, the snowfall left some chores unfinished. Have a great weekend, and with a rise in temps next week(?) maybe a few more chores will be completed :) Wendy x

  8. I really have to go back and focus in on some of the plants in your garden....there were so many that struck a chord with me!! I always love seeing your garden and get excited when you do posts about it! Sorry to hear that you lost some garden space along the picket fence. Everything is gorgeous Jennifer!! Nicole xo

  9. I would love to grow pokeweed as an ornamental, but even non-gardeners around here know this plant as one of our toughest native "weeds", but it is a great plant, with a great history. I understand there are culitvars that now have chartreuse and variegated foliage.

  10. Jennifer, of course I read every word! I always love to visit you, such beauty in your gardens. That was a huge tree, hope it didn't cause too much damage when it landed. You've got so many plants here, the helianthus and many, many different varieties of everything from sedum to phlox. And I am just like you; when I hear a plant can survive anything and see aggressive roots circling the pot, I'm scared. We've been fighting a battle with Bishop's Weed aka Snow on the Mountain aka Hugest Pain in the Gardening Universe for decades. And sadly, someone gave me an Ironweed a few years ago which is proving to be a thug in our sandy soil on the back hill of the quarry. It's coming up everywhere...and we're digging like badgers to stay ahead of it. Love the post, Jennifer!!

  11. The picture of your garden by the fence last summer is gorgeous. I'm sorry your front garden suffered from the construction but am looking forward to seeing the changes in the back garden now that there will be more light. Was the black walnut one of the trees to go?

    Your phlox collection is fantastic. Beautiful shots of the butterflies.

    1. Hi Sweetbay, Two of the three trees were Norway Maples- so not a big loss. Losing the other tree was sad however. I am not sure what sort of tree it was, a native tree of some kind I think. Every end of June-July it was covered in cherry-like berries that the robins and other birds went wild for.
      On the up side the tree had already been hit by some black fungal infection and would have had to come down anyway. The last winter's ice storm did it in early. We still had a huge cleanup to do this spring and all the branches had to be burned.
      On the down side we lost a lot of privacy. The tree was at the side of the house and blocked a view of the neighbour's house. Now we can see the neighbour's house far too well.

  12. Oh my goodness, it is so wonderful to see all of this color here!
    We are into our "gray period" now, so this is truly a special treat.
    Have a wonderful week, Jennifer!

  13. I so enjoyed getting to take this tour of your garden, Jennifer, and to see the handsome Rusty once again. I'll be interested to see how you deal with the new-found sun in your shade garden. It's a shame, though, you lost some of your garden along the sidewalk; this area has always been one of my favorites. I've never been a big fan of Agastache 'Blue Fortune,' but it really looks good in the combos you have here. I may have to re-think my opinion, especially since it's one Agastache that is cold-hardy for me. Good to see all these bright blooms on such a gray and gloomy November day!

  14. You know how much I love your flower photos, but I think the doggie pic is the best of the bunch. :)

  15. You just have such a magnificent garden Jennifer and it takes my breath away - I don't know how you manage to inject so much colour when your seasons are so short and often brutal - a sure sign of an excellent gardener. Long may you continue.

  16. Gorgeous pictures! You're right fall does go by too fast because there is so much to enjoy.

  17. Love love love your beautiful garden! It's full of personality... and your incredible knowledge of plants too!

  18. Thank you for this wonderful summer/fall review of your garden, Jennifer. All those beautiful flowers are a sight for sore eyes, especially as my garden is now covered in snow. P. x


Apologies, comments are disabled at this time.

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.