At this time of the year, we are frequently asked “what’s in bloom”. I think the question really means “What makes your garden interesting at this time of year?”

While there are still some flowers in bloom, they may not be their most attractive at this time. I still have asters, Japanese anemones, bugbane and sedum in flower and if you look closely you can see Johnny-jump-ups sticking their heads up. Behind a pine, there are even some phlox in bloom. Oddly enough, a summer clematis that I had cut back because I thought it had died has now produced some blooms. The obedient plants have the occasional bloom as does the rose mallow and the lamium but most other perennials have stopped blooming.

However, if you’ve done things well, there are many other plants that have attractive features that provide interest at this time of year. Many of the containers still have annuals with blooms and interesting foliage. One container has a dahlia in full bloom with a purple flowering plectranthus (why the common name is Swedish Ivy I’ll never understand) and the light green sweet potato vine. Other containers have some gorgeous foliage annual geraniums that are still in bloom. The leaves of the Summersweet (clethra) are a pretty yellow colour and those of the white edged euonymus are always attractive.

Seed heads on the Clematis texensis are always interesting as are the various evergreens shrubs that have been placed around the yard. This is the time of year when you really appreciate having taken some time to plan the garden for more than just the summer.

by Bruce MacNeil
Originally published October 11, 2011