Autumn 2010 Blooms!

Des Plaines, IL(Zone 5b)

My friends, it's time! The weather is nice (thank God!), the sun is lower in the sky (all the better to capture the golden colors!), and the autumn blooms are glowing. Get your cameras out, enjoy the fresh new air, and snap your favs! Here are mine, taken today . . .

Viburnum at the top, starry solomon seals to the right, hosta below . . . and one of our stray kittens in the middle! (He's growing, too!)

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Des Plaines, IL(Zone 5b)

Sedum "Rosy Glow"

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Des Plaines, IL(Zone 5b)

Hydrangea paniculata "Quick Fire"

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Des Plaines, IL(Zone 5b)

Hydrangea paniculata "Pinky Winky" in front of viburnum and hosta "Guacamole". Black eyed susan, gold barberry, and ninebark "Midnight Wine" in foreground

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Des Plaines, IL(Zone 5b)

Sedum "Autumn Fire"

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Des Plaines, IL(Zone 5b)

My backyard. That's Briana, my Golden Retriever back by the maple tree!

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Des Plaines, IL(Zone 5b)

Sedum "Autumn Fire" again

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Des Plaines, IL(Zone 5b)

Pulmonaria "Mrs. Moon" (OK, not a fall bloom, but this guy has TRIPLED in size since May!)

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Des Plaines, IL(Zone 5b)

Another "Mrs. Moon" next to heuchera "Marmalade" (a winner - most heucheras are losers in my garden, but this one is two years old and just gets bigger) and wild columbine foliage. The foliage lasted all season this year!

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Sounds like 'Marmalade' can take our summers unlike some of the other "wimps". Do you have it planted up against a wall? What side of the house is it on?
A lot of my fall bloomers are pouting since it's been so dry here. We missed out on most of the rain falling on the IL side and that wind yesterday sure didn't help with the lack of moisture either. I've got the sprinkler on as I write.

Des Plaines, IL(Zone 5b)

Yeah, I know what you mean - that wind just dries everything out right after I water. Today was better. The Marmalade is on the north side of the house. I just happened to think of another reason it may be doing well - it's right under the faucet! The faucet doesn't leak when the water's off, but when it's on, it does a little. It really does nicely, though!

Advantageous spot for 'Marmalade'!
Watering already this morning. Our only chance of rain will be Saturday but I doubt that we'll get much with the current weather pattern.

Des Plaines, IL(Zone 5b)

I know - my neighbors used to think I was nuts because I'd stand outside with the hose when there were dark clouds and thunderheads above. They'd say "Why are you watering? It's going to rain!". My answer was always "Nah . . . it's not gonna rain. It'll pass right by us." Usually, I was right!

Or, if it does rain, watering just insures that it does, right?

Des Plaines, IL(Zone 5b)

Right!

Watertown, WI(Zone 5a)

Lovely to see the fall blooms! I definitely love this time of year the best. Spring and Fall are the greatest seasons, and sadly the shortest lived here in the UMW.

Sherri, your pulmonaria 'Mrs. Moon' looks a lot like mine--huge! I planted 3 from Bluestone Perennials last year and they put on some decent size but didn't bloom (planted too late.) This year they bloomed like crazy (I could barely see the foliage for all the blooms!) and grew enormous. I realize now that I planted them too close together. I should probably divide them this spring and spread them out a bit.

Des Plaines, IL(Zone 5b)

That's exactly what I'm going to do - this one's a winner!

Madison, WI

Sherri, you beds look very nice and planned. Love that hydrangea!
How do you keep the weeds out with no mulch?
I neglected weeding this season a bit too much and now am looking for some of the less
aggressive plants. Ms Moon is not on this list :) have started transplanting some of it on
the north facing slope that does not get any supplemental watering as am sure it will do
just fine there and will solve my erosion problem too. This already worked with overplanting along
the edge and, like Kayly said, it blooms like crazy in spring. People were asking me what those
lovely blue flowers I had. I actually divided mine in the fall and doubled the number of plants by spring.

I'd love to plant some Rosy glow, it's so much more colorful than Autumn fire.
What do you think of it comparing the two?


This message was edited Sep 13, 2010 1:24 PM

Des Plaines, IL(Zone 5b)

I really love both, so it would depend on how much sun you get in the place you're thinking of - Mrs. Moon likes shade or part shade; sedum loves sun. What I should tell you about Rosy Glow is that as the season progresses, the stems lay down all in a circle - at least for me it's not an upright plant! I kind of like the effect, and next year I'll plant some short, spiky somethings close to the middle of Rosy, so her stems can lay down around it.

Enya, I do get weeds, believe me! I don't get an overwhelming number, though, because weeding out with a hoe is so extremely fast. Also, I disturb the soil as little as possible. I try not to even step on it. Have you ever noticed how a couple weeks after you've planted something, there are little weeds around the new plant all of a sudden? That's because every time you disturb soil, as in planting, you bring thousands of seeds to the surface!

Thanks for the kind words!

Watertown, WI(Zone 5a)

I went out and took a few shots late this afternoon. Here's my dianthus, which decided to throw out a few autumn blooms.

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Watertown, WI(Zone 5a)

It was breezy, so the malva wouldn't stop moving. I started this from seed in late winter and planted it as a tiny little plug. It's enormous now and flowered like crazy. I believe this cultivar is called 'Mystical Merlin.'

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Watertown, WI(Zone 5a)

Again with the breeze blur, but here's rudbeckia 'Autumn Colors.' I got a great mix of shapes and sizes from this mix, from some that resembled 'Capuccino' to others that looked almost like football mums. I'm not sure whether it reseeds, but I'll start some from seed this spring again. It's a winner!

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Watertown, WI(Zone 5a)

Sedum

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Des Plaines, IL(Zone 5b)

Kayly, those are beautiful! I used to start plants from seed in late winter, but it got to be kind of a hassle with the lights and misting. After seeing yours, I may try again! I was also thinking of throwing some perennial seeds down this fall outside so they get the needed "pre-chill" and let them come up naturally in the spring. Don't know if I'd get a great germination rate, but it's easy and cheap!! : )

Madison, WI

Kayly, I love, love, love that Rudbeckia! Such a full bloom and color variation. So you are saying that from a single packet you got a mix of looks? Where did you get the seeds? I brought home two from the RU and they look very different too. What is strange is they both changed color as the flowers matured from yellow to sort of chocolate-dipped. I love it.
Now just need to find the battery charger to snap a picture. In my household a camera seems never to be in a working condition :(

Sherri, I'll remember to keep the surface disturbance to a minimum. Now I remember reading about his in Gaia's Garden.
What kind of hoe do you use? I never worked with one, I use gardening knife or a narrow spade.

My garden knife is my favorite tool! Carry it with me along with my pruners. Both stuck in the back pockets of my jeans. (And I wonder where all of the holes in my pockets come from!)
Beautiful pics, Kayly. I think my garden's just about done (except for a few mums) due to the lack of rain here. Only got about 1/2" or so on Saturday. One of the driest Augusts for me. Still have some Astilbe that I want to divide but other house projects taking priority at the moment.

Watertown, WI(Zone 5a)

Thanks for the compliments!

Enya, yes...I bought one packet of seeds from Stein's Garden Center in late winter and ended up planting about 6 plants and giving some others away. Each plant from the same packet produced a different looking bloom. One produced these giant blooms that were a good 5" across with very dark chocolate brown centers fading to brilliant red-orange tips. I got the fewest blooms on that plant, and they didn't last long, but boy were they impressive! I'm only sorry I didn't think to get a picture.

Other blooms were very mum-like and golden with chocolate brown centers. And then there's the one I posted, which reminds me of some sort of strange autumn-colored zinnia. Others were more like your standard yellow and brown rudbeckia. But they were all great. I'm going to start some from seed this winter, too.

Des Plaines, IL(Zone 5b)

Enya, the one I use is called a "stirrup hoe". I found this little article about hoes with pics of different kinds for you: http://www.examiner.com/home-living-in-detroit/tools-for-problem-weeds-your-garden

I was hand pulling for the first 5 years of my gardening life (started about 12 years ago). One day, my elderly next door neighbor, who is Polish and speaks very little English came up to me with this tool I had never seen the likes of before. I was in the dirt, sweating, pulling up plants with my dandelion weeder. She said "No! Too slow! Hard" and started on an area with the hoe. I tried it and it was revolutionary to me! My laborious weeding days were over! It's one of my favorite tools. My favorite though is my butcher knive which divides, weeds, prunes and does everything but the dishes!

I have a "winged weeder" which is kinda nice. I have to keep it sharpened though since my clay soil tends to dull the edges of gardening tools. I do have to be careful with it though since (if I'm not paying attention) I can easily chop off a plant at ground level. It does break through the harder clay pretty easily though.

Watertown, WI(Zone 5a)

I think I'm going to add a stirrup hoe to my list of must-have gardening tools for next year. :)

Madison, WI

It looks like it would cut the weeds just below the ground or do you scrape the surface no to disturb the soil?
It's definitely could cut down on bending for each weed :) I certainly need a tool.

Des Plaines, IL(Zone 5b)

Yes, it cuts just below the soil, which is OK as far as soil disturbance because any seeds that close to the surface would have already germinated. I should clarify my statement that I "try not to even step on the soil" - that actually has to do with soil compaction, not weeds. Every time you step on the soil, you compact it to some degree. Of course you HAVE to step on it sometimes and you HAVE to disturb it, as when you plant. The point, I suppose, is to do both as little as possible!

I always start the growing season with good intentions not to step on the soil but by the end of summer, I end up with compacted areas from putting one foot in. My biggest weed problem was this past spring. I had emptied my compost pile last year to amend soil and everywhere I amended there popped a huge collection of weeds. I think I need to limit what I put in my "usable" compost pile.

Waukesha, WI(Zone 5a)

I don't how I didn't get here................

Sherriseden I have this and was told by the person who sold it to me it was a hydrangea then was told by a couple other people it is a viburnum. It looks similar to the one you posted above. Right?

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Waukesha, WI(Zone 5a)

My asters are in bloom

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Waukesha, WI(Zone 5a)

as is Autumn Joy sedum

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Des Plaines, IL(Zone 5b)

Cece, that's a hydrangea. They can look like viburnums in the blooms and leaves (both have opposite leaf arrangement), but the test is when they bloom: viburnums, spring; hydrangeas summer to fall. Beautiful! But, the blooms don't look panicled (?) Are they flat or panicled (like a phlox)?

Waukesha, WI(Zone 5a)

No they're not like a phlox. I'll go out and see if I can get a better picture of the bloom itself.

Waukesha, WI(Zone 5a)

a closer look and I never noticed it before but it does kinda sorta resemble a phlox.

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That is a beautiful bloom! I thought at first it might be a viburnum looking at the leaves but now that I think how small the leaves are on Hydrangea 'Limelight', I'm confused.

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