Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

In the Garden:
Western Mountains and High Plains
September, 2009
Regional Report

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Now is the time for the wonderful colors of hardy chrysanthemums to brighten the garden.

Late Summer and Fall Splendor

There's a chill in the evening air but the days are still warm. Walking through the garden the other morning, I was very pleased with the pleasing ambiance of late summer and early fall colors created by my plant combinations. I'm sure it has something to do with the change in the sunlight and shortening days that make some perennials glow with the richer and warmer colors.

This past week the hardy mums were beginning to put on their show despite the earlier hail storm. Some of the newer varieties I'm testing are outstanding, with the vigor and resiliency necessary to make a comeback and bloom. Let's hope for an extended season of mild weather and a late hard frost to keep the show going.

There's no doubt we need to take the time now to soak up as much of the garden splendor as we can, since it won't be long before another winter. Now is a great time for gardeners and it's a good time for the plants, too.

If you haven't planned or planted for autumn color, it's not too late. There are many plant choices available for purchase that are ready for a new home, be it in temporary containers or planted directly in the garden. Among my favorites are the hardy cushion-type mums that are typically planted in the spring and will start blooming in late August and continue well into late fall or a hard frost. For a background with mums, try planting a 'Golden Mound' spirea and this will create quite a combination.

Another tough plant blooming right now is the compact goldenrod. It is growing to a height of 12 to 15 inches and tolerates the drought and full sun very nicely. Combine with amazing asters in shades of pink, red, white, blue, and lavender.

So if your annual flowers are waning and you want to add some new perennials to fill in the colorless gaps, take the time to plant some late summer- and fall-blooming perennials. Sited in the right spots they will add interest right now and repeat again next year.

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