As summer wanes, and autumn makes its cool approach, my garden reaches its final stage of beauty. Beneath crisp rays of sunlight, gladiolus (above), asters and goldenrod achieve their rich perfection, and fragrant Viburnum ‘Cayuga’ gives a surprise, encore performance. The shady Woodland Garden is colorful, too, with the glossy red berries of wild honeysuckle, and the fragrant white spires of Cimicifuga ramosa.
One nice thing about gladiolus is that you can control their bloom-time. Most flower 60 days after planting. Thus, if you want their bright burdens in September, as I do, plant the corms in late June. Above, “Glads” in tones of pink-to-purple bloom in full sun outside my Kitchen Garden. Because the corms are not hardy here in zone 5-b, I dig them up before frost and store them in a paper bag of sawdust during winter.
Where lawn meets forest, all kinds of weedy things bloom in early-autumn. Among them is goldenrod, above, its yellow sprays welcome both outdoors and in, for I sometimes include it in flower arrangements.
In terms of sweetness and bloom, Viburnum ‘Cayuga’ leaves it’s more common relative, V. ‘Carlesii,’ in the dust. It flowers first in May, then gives a stunning repeat performance in September. I have two of these well-behaved shrubs, one on each end of the Kitchen Garden. They perfume the air for yards around.
Above, Cimicifuga ramosa ‘Brunette’ resides among ferns and hostas in the open shade of my Woodland Garden. What a dazzling show it provides in late summer, when fragrant, bottle-brush blooms of moonbeam-white emerge above the brown foliage. Moist conditions and a slight amount of sun are the only requirements for this enthusiastic grower with a potential height of 96-inches.
Wild honeysuckle, Lonicera (above), with its graceful arching habit, is perhaps my favorite deciduous shrub in the Woodland Garden. It makes a captivating sculpture in spring, when every branch is lit with pink, sweetly-scented blossoms. These in September drip with lovely, perfectly-round berries of cranberry-red. The berries, although attractive to birds, are mildly poisonous to humans.
What’s blooming in your late-summer borders?
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