By Howard Voland
Now is a good time to take a look around your garden and other gardens, parks and nurseries for ways to add color to your garden in the fall.
Sedums, asters, chrysanthemums, hydrangeas, black-eyed susans, verbenas, monkshood, colchicums, fall-blooming crocus, annuals like cleome and, of course, roses and dahlias can all be found in bloom in our garden at the end of September. In addition, here are some other favorites:
Hardy fuchsias are a wonderful addition to the garden and once they start blooming, they will continue to bloom until
the first frost. These are different from their tender cousins so often seen in planters and hanging baskets, and they can get fairly large, adding much color to the fall garden.
Plant them in spring after all danger of frost is past, preferably after they have had time to develop a good root system in a pot. If they have been in a protected environment, acclimatize them for a week or so before planting.
They do best in half to full sun, but you may need to protect them on the hottest days during their first summer in your garden. Plant them deeply in a reasonably well-drained location so that they are in a hole to start with and then let the dirt fill in around them over the summer and fall. Mulch the first year for added protection.
Fertilize them in the spring when they begin to grow with a balanced, time-release fertilizer. Keep them reasonably watered and avoid watering in the afternoon or evening to avoid rust.
Do not prune them over the winter. Wait until they leaf out the next year before pruning. The old stems help protect the plant from the cold and it’s hard to tell which stems are truly dead.
For more information, visit the Northwest Fuchsia Society website at: http://www.nwfuchsiasociety.com/.
Actaea racemosa ‘atropurpurea’ begins blooming in August, but depending upon soil and location, can bloom into late September. We have five clumps of this striking plant scattered throughout the yard so that we can enjoy its lovely fragrance all through the garden from early August through late September.
The bloom spikes can reach eight-feet tall and are extremely attractive to bees. This is an easy plant to grow in sun to light shade, but don’t let it dry out as the purple to bronze-tinted foliage will curl and not recover.
Hardy cyclamen are a wonderful way to add interest to the fall and winter garden. Cyclamen hederifolium and Cyclamen coum are both dormant during the summer. They grow from corms and can be easily found in nurseries, usually when they are in bloom.
Hederifolium usually begins blooming by Labor Day, with their attractive leaves appearing soon after. They will continue to bloom through the fall and their foliage will be attractive all winter long.
Coums are later, leafing out in the fall and blooming in late fall and winter. Blooms for both range from white to pink.
Yellow wax-bells, Kirengeshoma palmata, offers an unusual change of pace with its large, lobed leaves and yellow, waxy, bell-like flowers in the fall. Plant in part-shade in moist, rich soil and don’t let it dry out. It gets about four-feet tall and spreads over time.
Phygelius, also known as Cape Fuchsia, is a terrific plant for attracting hummingbirds. It’s a prolific bloomer and, with proper deadheading, will bloom well into the fall. We have a large one by our deck and it’s better than a hummingbird feeder.
Japanese Anemones offer lovely late summer and fall color and are extremely easy to grow. Too easy, actually, as they can be very difficult to eradicate as they seem to come back from every little bit of root. They also run, so buyer beware.
More information on gardening can be had by calling the WSU-Snohomish County Extension Master Gardener Hotline at 425-357-6010 between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Monday through Thursday.
Howard Voland draws upon sixty years of playing in Snohomish County dirt, and, the opinions expressed here are his alone. You can reach him through www.ravenwriters.com.