Colour In the Fall Garden

I was having my coffee in the garden yesterday morning - a habit that I've recently adopted, rain or shine - when I became inspired to document the colours that I'm seeing in the garden right now.  While we normally think of deep oranges, yellows and reds when we speak of fall colour - and indeed there are a lot of those mixed in here - there are also a lot of other colours splashed around the borders.

Trees are usually top of mind when it comes to fall colour but this post focuses on perennials, although I couldn't help including a couple of my favourite annuals and shrubs as well.

P.S.  I'm really trying to up my game when it comes to including proper botanical names (à la Kris from Late to the Garden Party - she is the botanical name goddess!) as it really does ensure we are all talking apples and apples vs oranges, if you get my meaning.  And while I may never refer to a nasturtium as a Tropaeolum - even if I could pronounce it 😄- I 'm going to try my hardest to at least mention the botanical name in my blog posts.

So here we go - first up is one of the biggest pleasures in the garden right now - Seven Son Flower.  This cultivar is Proven Winners "Temple of Bloom":

Heptacodium miconioides (Seven Son Flower)
'Temple of Bloom'

This is one of those shrubs that eventually becomes a tree.  It's taken about 3 years for it to truly display it's floral magnificence and boy, what a show it is!  At the moment, it is showing off all three B's:  Buds, blooms and bracts.  The bracts are particularly dramatic.




The "Moonrock" hydrangea that I received from 'Bloomin' Easy' has also put on a big show this year for the first time.  I was even able to pick a few blooms for drying. 

Hydrangea paniculata
‘Kolmakilima’ (aka 'Moonrock')

Another surprise is the recent flush of flowers on this no-name rose, that's been here since we moved in.  

Over the years, this rose has been overshadowed - literally - by the hydrangeas beside it.  This year, I finally cut the hydrangeas back significantly so that this rose could finally breath.  It's now over 6' tall - at least a couple of feet taller than it's ever been before - and it's been so happy all season!  The colour is so fluorescent that it's incredibly hard to get a good photo.

Another surprise that we had after I cut back one of the beds were these turtleheads.  We've been here 11 years and I had no idea they were there!

Chelone obliqua (Turtlehead)

After figuring out what they were - the Pl@ntNet app is amazing! - I quickly looked them up to make sure they weren't invasive, which they don't appear to be.

In a section of the same bed that I cleared & planted up a couple of years ago, I am absolutely thrilled with this Strobe Weigela, another shrub that I received from Bloomin' Easy:

Weigela florida ‘Verwof 1’ (aka 'Strobe')

This Weigela has bright pink blooms in the spring which I'm not a huge fan of as I prefer softer shades, but it's drop-dead gorgeous foliage is what it's all about for me - this photo really doesn't do it justice.

Further along in this bed is a Chocolate Joe Pye weed.  This guy was transplanted from another area of the garden last year and is doing SO well!

Eupatorium rugosum (Joe Pye Weed)

Another plant that I moved - a Purple Pillar Hibiscus - has bounced back valiantly.  I transplanted it this year at the worst possible time - in mid-summer - but it had to be moved one way or the other, so I took the chance.  Quite frankly, I'm shocked at how well it's doing.  It dropped all of it's leaves initially and I was certain that it was a goner.  Not only has it leafed out again, but it's now blooming.

Hibiscus syriacus (Rose of Sharon)
'Purple Pillar'

Of course, no fall garden would be complete without Autumn Joy sedum, now would it?

Sedum 'Autumn Joy'

Another plant that is settling in well is the Autumn Carnival obedient plant.  When I purchased this particular plant, I did my homework first (i.e. standing at the garden centre, phone in hand 😄).  This cultivar is truly "obedient" and doesn't take over like standard varieties.

Physostegia virginiana (Obedient Plant)
'Autumn Carnival'

Also purchased at the same time as the obedient plant was a Woods Pink aster.  Unfortunately, all of my asters were pretty much decimated by lace bugs this summer.  I tried to keep on top of them with insecticidal soap, but it was not overly successful.  The only thing that I can say at this point is that the plants are still hanging on.  I wasn't sure I would see any flowers at all, so was pleasantly surprised when I saw a few Woods Pink blooms peaking out from underneath the oat grass foliage.  I have my fingers crossed that the asters have enough energy to return next year.

Aster 'Woods Pink'

The lavender - of which I have several varieties - is pushing a few late blooms here and there.  And they are still quite lovely!

Lavandula angustifolia (Lavender)
'Ellagance Ice'

While many of the annuals I planted this year show no signs of slowing down, there are a couple of standouts.  Firstly, the cosmos that have self seeded in the west border.  I think it's been over 3 years since I actually planted cosmos here and they are now throughout a good chunk of the bed and I'm getting all kinds of lovely colour variations.

Self-seeded Cosmos bipinatus

And lastly, the nasturtiums planted in a window box on the shed.

Tropaeolum majus (Nasturtium)
'Orchid Cream' and 'Tip Top Apricot'

They put on a show for a good part of the summer, then had a bit of a lull for a while, but are now obviously totally in their element, enjoying the cool, rainy days of fall.  This planting is definitely on my repeat list for next year.


  1. It's nice to see so much colour still around at this time of year. I love the hydrangea, that's so pretty and will look fabulous when dried.

    1. The dried blooms are in a vase by our front entrance & I enjoy them every day :)

  2. I love all the blooms. Great minds must think alike, because I've been working on a post about our flowers too. I do see familiar faces like Joe Pye Weed, asters and sedum. You have a great collection!

    1. Thanks Dave - looking forward to reading your post!

  3. Your garden is putting on a good show, Margaret! I adore the Heptacodium but it needs a climate much different than mine. I was surprised when I saw Physostegia growing (abundantly) in my local botanic garden as I wasn't aware it could be grown here. However, I've read it likes soil on the acidic side, which rules inclusion in my garden out.

    P.S. I do better with Latin plant names in writing. My oral pronunciation leaves a LOT to be desired.

    1. Thanks Kris :) You might want to give Physostegia a try anyhow - we have alkaline soil in our area (in the 7.3 range) and it doesn't seem to mind it at all. The cultivar may also be a factor. I laughed when I read your pronunciation comment - I'm often stymied and now have a couple of sites bookmarked that have audio botanical pronunciations :)

  4. You have lots of colour to enjoy. I wouldn't know how to pronounce most Latin names. I wish cosmos would self sow here, although the flowers must scatter their seed I've never noticed any germinating.

    1. Thanks Sue :) That's so strange about the cosmos - I would think they would have no issues self-seeding in your usually wet, milder climate, unless they need our cold winter for stratification.

  5. I think this post came through when I was out at a conference. Darn, I missed it. Some beautiful blooms in your garden in autumn! I especially enjoyed the unknown rose, the Cosmos, and the Hibiscus. Beautiful colors and photos!

    1. Thanks Beth! I'm really enjoying the progression of colour this year with our protracted fall, although that now seems to be over.


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