The Late September Garden with Mike Darcy

September 21, 2017

Earlier this month I wrote a blog on plants that came through the summer and were still blooming and looking good at the beginning of September. Today, in between very heavy showers, I walked around my garden to see what was still holding up well. Plants can be surprisingly resilient and here are four that are looking great even with all the much-needed rain we received.

Amaranthus can provide some wonderful late summer/early fall color and a variety that I think is often overlooked is Amaranthus tricolor ‘Joseph’s Coat’. Easily grown from seed in the spring, the plants can reach up to 4 feet in height but can be pinched back to keep lower if desired. ‘Joseph’s Coat’ is not known for the flowers but rather the leaves which in late summer and early fall turn shades of red, yellow and green and from a distance look as though they are flowers. Try planting these in a grouping for a maximum color effect. Plants will grow in full sun but I think they do better with some protection from the hot afternoon sun.

While Clematis are well known for their flowers, an added bonus is the seed head which is often a golden brown and offers some very nice fall color. If the flowers are not cut and allowed to mature, many Clematis will form seed heads which will often last into the winter. There are also some Clematis that will bloom in late summer/early fall and to see what is blooming now, visit the Rogerson Clematis Garden at Luscher Farm, 125 Rosemont Road, West Linn. This display Garden is an overlooked gem that should be visited several times throughout the year.

For many years we have had two pots of Cyperus papyrus (Giant Egyptian Papyrus) on our deck. These plants make a striking statement with their tall green stalks that are topped with greenish thread-like flowers. The plants on our deck get quite a bit of hot sun, and they do need regular watering as the soil should be kept moist. Even with all the rain, they are still looking good. Treat these as annuals, I have never had plants survive through a winter in a pot.

This was the first year for me to grow SunPatiens and I think they will be a regular part of my garden in the future. These summer annuals were in flower when I purchased them in the spring and they have never stopped. My wife wanted some white flowers to stand out in the summer evening, and these certainly did. We have two pots of SunPatiens, one of which gets hot sun and the other which gets partial shade and the location did not seem to matter. Both plants bloomed all summer and are still in full bloom.

These are just some suggestions to think about for next spring. Take a walk around your neighborhood and see what other gardeners have that is blooming. This is a good way to learn about new plants.