Just when you think there’s nothing else left to bloom, the dramatic rich blue spires of monkshood fill your view. That is, if you had the foresight to plant this reliable Zone 3 perennial in your garden.
In Canada, at some point you’ll have a killing frost. That’s your signal to dig up and store your dahlia tubers so you have plump, healthy tubers to replant next spring.
It’s Thanksgiving weekend and you may be busy stuffing a turkey, but if you do find time to enjoy your garden (and the weather cooperates), here are a few tasks Judith Adam would like you to consider. It’s always satisfying to get a head start on next year’s garden.
Fall is the best time to move peonies if they needed to be moved. When planting new peonies, choose your site wisely because these are perennials that prefer to settle in and not be disturbed.
This year, I’m determined not to wait until the coldest, windiest, wettest day to plant my bulbs. I’m an expert at bulb planting procrastination, and sometimes it’s closer to Christmas than Thanksgiving when the last bulb is tucked in. To keep me motivated, I’m reviewing these “Bulb planting tips.”
A few weeks ago, I harvested more than two dozen heads of garlic. I set aside eight of the largest heads to separate into individual cloves to plant in a few weeks — usually late October in my Zone 5 garden. This satisfying ritual has been on repeat for at least five years now.
Among late-blooming perennials, if you’re looking for something interesting to try, consider turtlehead (Chelone obliqua). I’ve grown the common purple variety for at least a dozen years in heavy clay and semi-shade.
The pale buds of colchicum flowers will soon be pushing their way through the detritus of fallen leaves. These hardy bulbs play hide and seek as their strappy leaves emerge in spring and then disappear and lie low until early fall when their large cupped pink, white or purple flowers burst forth.
The aim of many flower gardeners is to have something in bloom from the cool days of early spring to the shortening days of early fall. Now that we’re in the last days of August, two bold perennials are hitting their stride: Joe Pye weed and rose mallow.
I’ve placed a small order for spring bulbs — late if I had wanted new or rare varieties, but there is still plenty of choice. I concentrated on adding a few more daffodils as well as early crocus because they are so easy to pop in here and there.
Ornamental grasses are beginning to shine as we enter the end of summer. Grasses add much to a garden design — verticality, interesting seedheads, warm colours in autumn and architectural interest in winter — but it’s their gentle swaying in a breeze that draws my eye these days.
Hydrangea hybridizers must be a very busy bunch of plant people. Undoubtedly, it’s an exaggeration to say a new hydrangea cultivar is introduced every month, but sometimes it seems that way.
Flowers that are true blue are relatively uncommon in the plant world, which makes them especially desirable. Several blues are available in the large Veronica genus, many of which are useful groundcovers, such as V. whitleyi and ‘Georgia Blue’.
Giant coneflower (Rudbeckia maxima) certainly lives up to its name. The perennial’s tall, stiff stems easily reach six or seven feet (1.8 to 2 m) and are topped with prominent brown cones circled with drooping yellow petals in midsummer. However, my favourite part of the plant is its large, steely blue, paddle-shaped leaves clustered near the base.
Mid-July is high season for flower borders. There’s so much in bloom, so many colours to enjoy and so, so, so much to do. But let’s pause, instead, and focus on how much there is to enjoy at this moment.
The meadow-rue family (Thalictrum species and cultivars) has several sturdy players; some tall and statuesque, others good for the middle row of a border and a few that could serve as a pretty edging plant or groundcover. Their colour range is limited to rosy mauve, purple, creamy white or soft yellow.
A frequent design conundrum for gardeners with a small space is how to create privacy without resorting to a fortress of wooden fencing. A few well-placed columnar trees can create a lovely green screen to block an unattractive view or muffle the sounds of car and pedestrian traffic.
The three clumps of baptisia in our front garden are peaking right now and will soon need to be thinned out in order for us to have a safe view of the street when backing out the car. That’s the ultimate size of a happy, healthy baptisia at maturity: mammoth.
Columbines (Aqueligia species and hybrids) are an old-fashioned cottage garden perennial, happy to weave here and there among more substantial companions, such as peonies, roses and daylilies.
Most of the containers I planted three weeks ago are filling in now that the weather is consistently warm. I like to try a new colour scheme every year, depending on plant availability.