Always on the look-out for great plants, we are offering two new and two returning favorites to our offering for this fall. Fall is a great time for planting, especially in zones 7-10 where the intense summer heat makes late spring/summer planting more difficult.
Everblooming Beauties for Summer-Long Color
Fringed Poppy Mallow (Callirhoe digitata) I'm very enamored with this uncommon, long blooming Poppy Mallow species and am recommending it to all my friends and fellow gardeners. Native to the south-central mid-section of the US (from Illinois and Indiana down into Oklahoma and Arkansas), Fringed Poppy Mallow is very different from the more familiar groundcover Poppy Mallow (Callirhoe involucrata). It has a low growing rosette of fine textured foliage from which 3 ft. tall, wispy stems with sprays of magenta Winecups arise; the flowers seem to float enchantingly above the garden. Blooming all summer, it's a great plant to mix into the mid-section of the perennial border or into more naturalistic plantings with blue flax (Linum), orange milkweed (Asclepias tuberosa), gay feather (Liatris) and native grasses like little bluestem (Schizachyrium) and blue grama (Bouteloua). USDA zones 4-8. Deer and rabbit resistant.
Engelmann's Daisy (Englemannia peristenia) Looking for a tough but colorful native plant that blooms all summer? Engelmann's Daisy fits the bill, blooming with bouquets of bright yellow daisies from late spring through the heat of summer. The nectar-rich flowers are especially attractive to butterflies and bees. Widely distributed across the western Great Plains into Texas, New Mexico and Colorado, this native wildflower is extremely adaptable and resilient, growing well in all types of soil including clay and seems to be indifferent to heat and cold. I include it in the "if you can't grow it, try another hobby" group of flowering plants; it's so easy-to-grow and will re-seed itself gently, like blue flax, when happy in its garden home. USDA zones 4-8. Deer and rabbit resistant, especially good for attracting butterflies and bees.
Groundcovers with Fabulous Foliage
Cobweb Spiderwort (Tradescantia sillamontana) This Mexican native gem is only found at high elevations in the Sierra Madre Mountains near Monterey, MX. I love it for its cobwebbed grey-green foliage and mid-summer display of bright pink impatien-like flowers. It has demonstrated excellent cold hardiness and has graced my zone 6 Santa Fe garden for over a decade. I highly recommend it as an outstanding groundcover for sunny and dry shade beds where it will become a long-lived resident of your landscape. Once established after its first growing season, grow it on the dry side to accentuate the cobwebs on the handsome foliage. USDA zones 6-10. Deer and rabbit resistant.
Partridge Feather (Tanacetum densum ssp. amani) One of the very best sun and heat tolerant groundcovers for the Great Plains and western US, Partridge Feather grows to form large, flat mats of stunning fuzzy silver-white evergreen foliage. In early summer, the plant flowers with numerous scapes of yarrow-like yellow flowers. The key to successful culture of this durable native of southwestern Turkey is "tough love" gardening; easy on the water, plant only in a poor, fast draining soil, use minimal fertilizer (a light side dressing of compost and Yum Yum Mix in the fall) and only use a coarse textured mulch like crushed gravel. This plant resents hot, humid weather as well as moist, fertile soil and bark or other mulch materials that stay wet over the winter months. 2010 Plant Select winner. USDA zones 4-9, deer and rabbit resistant.
One of the first asters to bloom, Monch Frikart's Aster (Aster x frikartii Monch) flowers from mid-summer into fall, with lavender-purple petals surrounding golden-yellow centers. This easy to grow hybrid is mildew resistant. Once established, Asters are drought-tolerant, vigorous, long-lived perennials that provide an important source of and late-season food for pollinators.
Dream of Beauty Fragrant Aster (Symphyotrichum oblongifolius) is big on blooms from mid-summer to fall, providing easy-care, long-lasting garden color. Shorter in stature than many Asters, it will brighten the garden with dense foliage and sweet pink flowers. A favorite of butterflies, this native cultivar is essential for late-season blooms in the pollinator garden.
'Blue Spruce' Creeping Sedum (Sedum reflexum) is a standout among low-maintenance Sedums. This easy-to-grow and eye-catching features succulent blue-green foliage, much like little spruce needles! A pollinator favorite, it is covered with small star-shaped yellow flowers in summer for over a month. A great evergreen groundcover where low maintenance, drought-tolerant, deer-and-rabbit-resistant plantings are desired.
Huge, flat-topped flower clusters create a dome of bright yellow color over the large attractive gray-green leaves of 'Little Rascal' Buckwheat (Eriogonum allenii). Blooming throughout the summer and into fall, it is highly attractive to butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds. This low-care buckwheat is more moisture tolerant than most and can be grown across much of the US when planted in full sun and well drained soils.