The Stars of the Moment-End of September 2013

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The garden is on the cusp of turning to all fall all the time. Certain plants are leading the way. A quick perusal with camera in hand showed these few plant picks to be worthy choices to help enliven a fall garden. First up is this small native tree, the eastern wahoo, Euonymus atropurpureus.

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This tree or large shrub is nondescript in spring and summer, but when the days begin to shorten in fall, the leaves turn crimson and the fruit opens to reveal striking red berries.

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This specimen was given to me as a seedling from good neighbor Mickey and has grown well to now anchor the front corner of our property. Euonymus atropurpureus is hardy in USDA Zones 3-7, reaching a height of 12 to 20 feet with a similar spread. I prune mine for a more narrow width. Grow it in full sun to part shade with medium moisture. It is tolerant of the dreaded black walnut, as well, a big plus here.

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Looking quite cheerful now are the various Solidago ssp., most came with the property but the above shot is of Solidago ‘Fireworks’, a fine cultivar that is more refined in size and spreading. It’s companion in the photo is the hummingbird magnet, Cuphea ignea.

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Goldenrods of all types are pollinator favorites and the stalwart of fields and roadsides in autumn. Some of these native wildflowers can get quite tall, but in my garden they get the chop chop in May to keep them shorter. Click here to read about that.

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Goldenrod has a long bloom time and offers color contrast for the next plant pick for the end of September, Aster (Symphyotrichum) oblongifolium ‘October Skies’.

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The blue fall blooming asters are the perfect counterpoint to the yellow goldenrods and turning foliage of deciduous trees. It looks pretty with the pink muhly grass, Muhlenbergia capillaris, too.

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Aster ‘October Skies’ seeds about promiscuously here to form large clouds of blue. Lax stems make for a billowing effect.

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Hardy in USDA Zones 3-8, plant Aster ‘October Skies’ in full sun for best flowering, although part shade seems fine for it here. Drought tolerant and not particular to soil type makes this an easy to grow addition for the fall garden.

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An Honorable mention award go to the foliage plant, Persicaria ‘Red Dragon’. This was added to the Lawn/Meadow last year and has filled in admirably. To read more about that, click here. Tiny white flowers are merely a bonus, for it is the red and silver leaves that provide the interest.

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Also receiving some attention are the self sown morning glories. They twine around whatever is nearby on their climb skyward. The blue flowers are stunning in the early morning light. The wrought iron chairs that sit outside the front door look happy with the vine covering. It makes me smile every time I go out.


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10 Responses to The Stars of the Moment-End of September 2013

  1. Alison says:

    Oh, that billowy mass of asters with the pink Muhly behind is just glorious. I planted a tiny native Euonymus atropurpureus this past spring. Can’t wait till it’s big enough to make those wonderful berries.

    Hi Alison, thanks for visiting. It seems the little wahoos start out sort of slowly then suddenly grow exponentially. May you have the fruit soon!

  2. I had never heard of Eastern wahoo before but I agree it has a lot of fall interest. Must check into this.

    It is a beautiful tree in the fall and winter, Kathy. The berries persist for quite some time and look fetching on the bare branches. A little snow dusting makes them look good enough to eat.

  3. gail says:

    I agree with Alison, the Pink Muhly is glorious with the asters…Love your E atropupureus, I grow Eunymus americanus which is a favorite deer food in our woodlands and semi-evergreen. Thankfully, they haven’t discovered mine! I might have to try your eastern version. Isn’t fall glorious. xoxoxgail

    Fall is indeed glorious, Gail. Finding the perfect plant that bloomed with the muhly grass took a while, but October Skies is definitely the one. I like that the aster lays low so the muhly isn’t hidden, too. I don’t know about deer on the wahoo, but most all of the foliage is way up high, out of their reach anyway.

  4. pbmgarden says:

    You have many nice plants and great combinations. The morning glory makes a nice vignette.

    Thanks, PBM. The morning glories plant themselves and make romantic vinings, especially in the fall.

  5. My Kids Mom says:

    I’ve just put in a bit of a friend’s morning glory and I’m glad to see them welcome in your gardens. I was worried that the self sowing might be a problem. Do you just yank them out when they aren’t in a good spot?

    Hi Jill, thanks for visiting. The morning glories are annuals but do self sow all over here. The seed bank in the soil must be tremendous, but I wouldn’t be without them. The extras are very easily pulled.

  6. Carol says:

    Fall sure is pretty in your garden!

    Thanks, Carol. This garden is pretty to me every season, but fall is pretty dadburn beautiful!

  7. Eastern Wahoo is worth planting for the name alone, but it is a beautiful tree. Another reason to try to seize the neighbor’s yard. I have the straight species from which October Skies derives, I think it is my favorite aster. I love the flowers but also the fact that it doesn’t get so tall.

    You are funny, Jason! That is a great name for the tree, easy to remember. My neighbors gave me a piece of every single thing they grew, the most generous gardeners I have ever known. I miss them very much. October Skies seedlings rule the spaces here, they self sow all over. I love their height, too.

  8. Virginia Callicott says:

    I have a nice big Eastern Wahoo…tall enough to avoid the deer. but I love its folksy name:” hearts a bustin’ ”

    Oh yes, I have heard that name, Virginia, thanks for reminding me. There are other tree/shrubs that share that name, makes it confusing to know who is whom. My neighbor called it that when he gave it to me.

  9. bittster says:

    Glorious is a good word to describe the color and abundance in your fall garden. It really looks magical!

    Hi Bittster, thanks so much. Fall is delicious here, and full of magic.

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