Plants - Perennials

Paint your garden with colourful, fall-blooming perennials

By
CanadianGardening.com

From chrysanthemums to colchicums, maintain a vibrant garden that will last until winter


Just because the summer is over, it doesn't mean you have to write off your garden until next year. Choose one or more of these fall-flowering perennials to provide continuous colour in your flower beds.

colour-late-season-blooms.jpgLate-season blooms for a colourful fall garden
It wasn’t so long ago that gardeners began putting their gardens to bed for the winter on Labour Day: pulling out all annuals, tying up shrubs and cutting perennials to the ground. After all, the growing season was over—wasn’t it? But today’s garden is increasingly seen as a spot that can be beautiful year-round, and rather than closing down their beds in autumn, gardeners now want colour until the snow flies, or even beyond.

And it’s so easy to achieve. Hundreds of plants offer fall colours to carry your landscape through to early winter. Autumn interest comes from flowers of course—numerous plants bloom from mid-September through November—but also from bright foliage and attractive fruit and berries. So infuse your patch with all three.

colour-colchicums.jpgFall-flowering colchicums for a dazzling show
Are there any “naked ladies” strutting their stuff in your garden? We mean colchicums, those fall-flowering corms that send up their blossoms on bare stems at the end of the gardening season (their leaves don’t appear until early the following spring), which accounts for one of their common names: naked ladies. Other names, and the source of some confusion, are meadow saffron, autumn crocus and mysteria.

Although a few species do flower in spring, the most popular colchicums reserve their annual display for late summer and fall, when they present a rainbow of hues for a late-season show. So eager are they to perform that ripened corms can sometimes be found flowering at garden centres before they’re even planted. So, when should you plant them?

colour-asters.jpgDiscover the star power of asters
Aster season is just beginning. These bright, starry flowers ("aster" comes from the Greek word for "star") positively shine in the early fall garden. They may start in August—some even as early as July—and extend the blooming season by as much as six weeks. Although gardeners in the coldest zones risk losing some flowers to early frosts, asters are tough, reliable perennials hardy just about anywhere in Canada. Early-blooming types suitable for short-season areas are also available.

As if that were not enough, their multitudes of flowers in shades of blue, pink, red or white are renowned for attracting butterflies. Asters also make superb, long-lasting cut flowers. Find out where you can plant them.

 

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