A Blue Extension of the Season


I have mixed feelings about plants that bloom this late in the season. Part of me is glad to see new colors and forms in the garden at this time, but another part has already given up. It’s why I only ever included a couple specimens of Sedum ‘Autumn Joy.’ By the time the show starts it’s already time for the season to be over. Focus has already shifted indoors. The rest of the surrounding area is brown with the die-down of scorched ferns and wilted hydrangeas.

Yet there are joys and thrills of opening this late in the game. For starters, there isn’t much competition. Even the annuals, which will flower until the last possible moment, are looking ragged and worn. As noted, the ferns and other foliage have all been burnt and scorched by the high season. The plants that do begin their blooming cycle now are few and far between, which makes them all the more valued. One of the most striking late-bloomers is this Caryopteris – more commonly called Bluebeard. Not only is it rare in its late-hour show, it also offers one of the closest hues to blue that is produced in the natural world.

As I said, I’ve already pretty much written off the garden by this point in the year, but blooms like this remind me that as long as the sun lingers there is life – and some of it quite colorful and gorgeous. That’s a rather pleasant reminder, and a wonderful way to see the season through to the end.

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