Archive for hardy begonia

Berries for Fall

Posted in Fall, Fall Color, my garden, native plants, Shade Gardening, Shade Shrubs, winter interest with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 30, 2013 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

Callicarpa dichotoma 'Early Amethyst'‘Early Amethyst’ beautyberry, Callicarpa dichotoma

For fall and winter ornamental interest, you can’t beat berries.  They are incredibly showy and last much longer than flowers.  They attract birds to my garden when they come in flocks to feast on the bounty—sometimes sooner than I would like.  And this year seems to be the best year ever for fruit production.  All my berry producing plants are loaded.  Is it because of all the rain we had this summer?  Or does it portend a hard winter like the presence of lots of acorns?  Who knows, but I am enjoying them and want to share some of my favorites with you.

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Ilex verticillata 'Red Sprite'‘Red Sprite’ winterberry holly, Ilex verticillata

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Ilex verticillata 'Red Sprite''‘Red Sprite’

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Winterberry holly is a must for fall interest.  It is a native deciduous holly that grows in sun to part shade and is salt and wet site tolerant.  Just remember that like all hollies, it requires a male and female plant to produce fruit.  ‘Red Sprite’ is more compact than most winterberries at five feet tall and four feet wide, it never needs pruning.  My plants drape down over the wall of one of my terraces and are stunning this time of year.  ‘Red Sprite’ produces more profusely than most winterberries, and its berries are larger and very showy.  Unfortunately the robins know this too, and they sweep in and strip the bush in one day.

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Callicarpa dichotoma 'Early Amethyst'‘Early Amethyst’ beautyberry

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Callicarpa dichotoma 'Early Amethyst'The fruit clusters of Callicarpa dichotoma, an Asian native, are held away from the branch on a stalk, whereas the fruit of C. americana (photo below) surrounds the branch.

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The fruit of beautyberries, both native and non-native, is such a striking purple color that it stops people in their tracks.  I have written about ‘Early Amethyst’ before in Woody Plants for Shade Part 3 so you can go there for all the details.  ‘Early Amethyst’ is a much more fine-textured plant than the American native and fits well in a mixed border.  In the last few years, I have cut my plants back to 12 to 24″ in the spring, and they have grown back to produce a 5 to 6′ plant with a beautiful habit (see top photo).

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Begonia grandishardy begonia, B. grandis

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Begonia grandishardy begonia

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No, hardy begonias do not produce fruit.  But the persistent seed pods and pink stems remain quite ornamental after the flowers drop off.  They decorate my whole back hillside.  For more information on hardy begonias, read this post Hardy Begonias for Fall Color.

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Crataegus viridis 'Winter King'‘Winter King’ green hawthorn, Crataegus viridis

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Cratageus viridis 'Winter King'‘Winter King’ hawthorn

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I have had my ‘Winter King’ hawthorn for over 15 years, and it has never produced like this.  It has a prime position outside my living room windows, and the view is amazing.  Green hawthorn is a native plant adaptable to many locations and soil types.  ‘Winter King’ is said to reach 30′ tall and 25′ wide in sun to part sun, although my mature plant is smaller.  In the spring, fluffy white flowers cover the tree, and its silver bark is also attractive.  ‘Winter King’ is a Pennsylvania Horticultural Society gold medal plant.  For more information, read the PHS write up.

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Callicarpa americanaAmerican beautyberry, Callicarpa americana, it is difficult to get a good distance shot of the fruit when the leaves are still on.  However, they will drop shortly and the berries will persist.

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Callicarpa americanaThe fruit of American beautyberry surrounds the branch.

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I have been looking for American beautyberry to add to my garden for almost 20 years and just installed three shrubs last fall.  Although I have the Asian variety and like it, there is something about the color (blackberry purple?) and placement of the larger berries on the American variety that I find more attractive.  As with a lot of North American plants, it is less refined and bigger than its Asian counterpart so not suitable for a mixed border.  For more information, go to Woody Plants for Shade Part 9.

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Symphoricarpos x doorenbosii Amethyst‘Amethyst’ coral berry, Symphoricarpos x doorenbosii, I must have taken 25 photos in an attempt to show you how beautiful this shrub is even from a distance but could not get one that does it justice.

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Symphoricarpos x doorenbosii 'Amethyst'‘Amethyst’ coral berry

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New to me this fall, ‘Amethyst’ coral berry has everything I am looking for in a shrub.  It is a cross between two Pennsylvania native shrubs, and it grows to 3 to 5′ tall with a similar spread in part shade but is full shade tolerant.  It is deer resistant and the gorgeous and unusual bright pink berries are attractive to birds.  For more information, go to Woody Plants for Shade Part 9.

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I have highlighted just a few of the plants that are making my fall garden as enjoyable as my spring display.  Enjoy the remaining warm days of fall and pray for rain.  Meanwhile, all new plantings and drought susceptible established plants should be watered deeply twice a week.

Carolyn

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Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is a retail nursery located in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, U.S., zone 6b. The only plants that we mail order are snowdrops and miniature hostas and only within the US.

If you are within visiting distance and would like to receive catalogues and information about customer events, please send your full name and phone number to carolynsshadegardens@verizon.net. Subscribing to my blog does not sign you up to receive this information.

Nursery Happenings: Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is closed for the winter.  Look for the 2014 Snowdrop Catalogue in early January.

Facebook: Carolyn’s Shade Gardens has a Facebook Page where I post single photos, garden tips, and other information that doesn’t fit into a blog post. You can look at my Facebook page here or click the Like button on my right sidebar here.

Notes: Every word that appears in orange on my blog is a link that you can click for more information. If you want to return to my blog’s homepage to access the sidebar information (catalogues, previous articles, etc.) or to subscribe to my blog, just click here.

September 2013 GBBD

Posted in Fall, Fall Color, Garden Blogger's Bloom Day, groundcover, hosta, my garden, native plants, Shade Perennials with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 14, 2013 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

Begonia grandis & Hosta 'Paul's Glory'Hardy begonias and ‘Paradise Joyce’ hosta

I have been very busy getting the nursery ready for the fall season but took a few hours off to get this Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day post done.  First though, I want to tell you what is in the fall line up.   Our fourth annual Double Hellebore Offer is underway.  To look at the brochure, click here.  These hellebores are the biggest doubles we have ever sold, and they are almost guaranteed to bloom this spring because they bloomed last spring.  If you want to see them in person, they are here right now and ready to go, so make an appointment or come during our open hours tomorrow, Sunday, September 15, from 1 to 3 pm.

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Begonia grandisHardy begonias are the ideal fall plant—they come up late and look pristine when they bloom from September through the first frost.

Our fall season started today, September 14, when we opened for a few hours so customers eager to start planting could shop.  Thanks to everyone who came by.  We will be open again tomorrow from 1 pm to 3 pm.   The first full-fledged open house sale is scheduled for Septmebr 28, and cyclamen breeder John Lonsdale will be making a guest appearance with his gorgeous hardy cyclamen.  He will have selected forms of Cyclamen hederifolium plus many other rare species.  Customers will get an email with all the details.  If you want to come before September 28, just send me an email with your preferred day and time.

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Begonia grandis 'Alba'white hardy begonia

I am currently putting together a Shrub, Tree, and Vine Offer with woody plants suitable for all your shady areas.  Look for an email this week if you are on my customer email list.  Finally, my husband Michael will be holding three sessions of his well-attended Low Maintenance Gardening Seminars.  They are tentatively scheduled for September 27, 29, and 30, but all the details will arrive by email shortly.  That’s all the business for now so on to the post….

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Begonia grandis 'Alba' & Hosta 'Striptease'My back hill is filled with large patches of hostas, and I use hardy begonias to fill in between them and even to cover up plants that are worn out by fall.

It is the middle of the month and time to participate in Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day (GBBD) hosted by May Dreams Gardens (link available on the 15th of the month) where gardeners from all over the world publish photos each month of what’s blooming in their gardens.  I participate because it is fun and educational for me to identify what plants make my gardens shine at different times of the year.  I encourage all gardeners, but especially my customers, to expand their floral display beyond spring so that their gardens delight them with flowers whenever they go outside.

My garden is located in Bryn Mawr (outside Philadelphia), Pennsylvania, U.S., in zone 6B.

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Begonia grandis 'Alba'hardy begonias

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Anemone x hybridaAnother fall star is Japanese anemone, which blooms from August into October depending on the variety.  The taller cultivars look beautiful draped over shorter plants, here hybrid hellebores.  However, shorter and more upright types have been introduced lately, look for the Pretty Lady series and ‘Pink Saucers’, both available at Carolyn’s Shade Gardens.

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Anemone x 'September Charm'‘September Charm’ Japanese anemone

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Anemone x 'Pamina'My favorite, ‘Pamina’ Japanese anemone

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Hosta 'Honeybells'I generally do not grow hostas for their flowers, but I make an exception for the highly fragrant varieties like ‘Guacamole’.  This photo shows ‘Honeybells’ towering over my miniature hosta rock garden.

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Hosta 'Stained Glass'Another hosta with deliciously fragrant flowers is ‘Stained Glass’, the 2006 Hosta of the Year.

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Hosta 'Stained Glass'‘Stained Glass’ is one of my favorite hostas—how many of your hostas look like this by fall?

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Hosta 'Mighty Mouse'Another hosta that comes through summer in pristine condition is the adorable miniature ‘Mighty Mouse’.

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Phlox paniculata & Spiraea 'Magic Carpet'It wouldn’t be fall without garden phlox.  I let this highly fragrant native plant self sow throughout my gardens and it is usually covered with butterflies.

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Phlox paniculata 'Starfire'The more modern garden phlox cultivars are mildew resistant and come in vibrant colors like ‘Starfire’ in this photo.

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Phlox paniculata 'Nicky' & Heuchera villosa 'Citronelle'‘Nicky’ garden phlox with ‘Citronelle’ coralbells

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Heuchera villosa 'Berry Smoothie'Customers have been raving about ‘Berry Smoothie’ coralbells for the last couple of years so I finally planted it in my garden—gorgeous.

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Ceratostigma plubaginoides & Hypericum 'Briggadoon'Two of my favorite colors, yellow and blue, come together through the side-by-side pairing of ‘Brigadoon’ St. John’s wort and plumbago (also called autumn leadwort), both excellent groundcovers.

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Polystichum polyblepharumTassel fern makes such an elegant specimen with its circular habit and shiny evergreen leaves.

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Cyclamen hederifoliumIt wouldn’t be September without fall-blooming hardy cyclamen.  The flowers start blooming in August (and last into October) and are followed by the beautifully patterned leaves which last until the next June.

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Cyclamen hederifolium 'Alba'white fall-blooming hardy cyclamen

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Ajuga 'Black Scallop'‘Black Scallop’ ajuga is the only one I sell because it is so superior.  It produces a solid weed-choking mat of very shiny, semi-evergreen leaves topped by lovely blue flowers.

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Rudbeckia speciesThis late-blooming black-eyed Susan species, Rudbeckia triloba (thanks Heide) self sows like mad, but I wouldn’t give up the beautiful display.

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Hakonechloa macra 'Aureola'‘Aureola’ Japanese hakone grass is beautiful all year.

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Pennisetum 'Moudry'Black fountain grass comes into its glory in the fall.  Yes, I know it can spread, but I have had it for 15 years and it hasn’t gone anywhere that I didn’t want to leave it.  Gardeners with smaller areas or less tolerance for the natural look should beware.

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Chelone lyoniiAnother favorite native, pink turtlehead, peaks in my garden in September.

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Tricyrtis 'Sinonome'A glimpse of what’s to come in October, the first flower opens on my ‘Sinonome’ toad-lily.

Almost all of these plants are available for sale at Carolyn’s Shade Gardens so, if you are in the area, I hope you will stop by.  If not, you now have a lot of ideas for your fall shade garden.

Carolyn

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Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is a retail nursery located in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, U.S., zone 6b. The only plants that we mail order are snowdrops and miniature hostas and only within the US.

If you are within visiting distance and would like to receive catalogues and information about customer events, please send your full name and phone number to carolynsshadegardens@verizon.net. Subscribing to my blog does not sign you up to receive this information.

Nursery Happenings: Carolyn’s Shade Gardens will be open Sunday, September 15, from 1 to 3 pm, and for a full-fledged open house sale on Saturday, September 28, from 10 am to 3 pm.  We are currently offering double hellebores, both by pre-order and at the nursery.  For details, click here.   Now that it’s cool, we are also shipping miniature hostas again.  For details, click here.  Low maintenance seminars and a chance to order shrubs and vines are in the works.

Facebook: Carolyn’s Shade Gardens has a Facebook Page where I post single photos, garden tips, and other information that doesn’t fit into a blog post. You can look at my Facebook page here or click the Like button on my right sidebar here.

Notes: Every word that appears in orange on my blog is a link that you can click for more information. If you want to return to my blog’s homepage to access the sidebar information (catalogues, previous articles, etc.) or to subscribe to my blog, just click here.

Hardy Begonias for Fall Color

Posted in Fall Color, Shade Gardening, Shade Perennials with tags , , , , on October 8, 2012 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

The fall-blooming flowers of hardy begonia, B. grandis.

In 1991, I took a perennial plants course at Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, PA, and was introduced to many wonderful plants that I have since planted in my garden (hellebores being one of them).  One of the most fascinating was hardy begonia or Begonia grandis.  I just couldn’t believe that there was a plant that looked just like my angel wing begonia house plant but grew outside and came back every year.


I can’t remember where I finally located a plant, but hardy begonias soon found their way to my garden and have been multiplying and spreading ever since.  I have noticed that my nursery customers have the same reaction that I did: what is that plant—is an annual?  So I thought I would introduce it to all my readers and recommend it for inclusion in your gardens.



When I say they are like a begonia house plant, I am not kidding.  They grow from tuberous roots and have fleshy succulent stems.  Their leaves are 3 to 6″ long and shaped like an angel’s wing with green on top and red highlights underneath.

The flowers are pale pink and clustered in loose bunches with deep pink stalks.  They bloom from September into November depending on when we get a frost.  The ovary, which persists when the flowers drop, is bright pink, three-winged, and very attractive.

Self-sown hardy begonias in my compost pit

Hardy begonia is native to China and Japan.  It is an upright plant growing to 2 to 3 feet in part to full shade.  Ideally it likes organic, moist soil, but my experience is that it grows anywhere in the shade.  It spreads all over the place at Carolyn’s Shade Gardens and is easily removed by yanking on the stem.  However, I rarely find it in a place I don’t want it.  It has even formed a very nice stand in my compost pit.  The only trick to growing it is that it comes up very late—mid-May in the mid-Atlantic—so you need to remember where it is.

White hardy begonia, B. grandis ‘Alba’

 

There is a lovely white cultivar of hardy begonia called ‘Alba’.  It has pure white flowers with pale pink stalks.  It is just as hardy as the parent species and seeds around my garden readily.


Hardy begonia looks great everywhere in my garden.  However, I prize it for growing between all my hostas on my back hill.  When the hostas look ratty, it springs up looking fresh and elegant and blooms its heart out.

White hardy begonia growing between hostas.

Before I start an avalanche of emails asking for this plant, I am sold out for the year at the nursery.  However, I always have it available in the spring so look for it in 2013.

Carolyn

Nursery Happenings:  Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is done for the fall.  Thanks for a great year.  See you in spring 2013.

If you are within visiting distance and would like to receive catalogues and information about customer events, please send your full name and phone number to carolynsshadegardens@verizon.net.  Subscribing to my blog does not sign you up to receive this information.

Facebook:  Carolyn’s Shade Gardens has a Facebook page where I post single photos, garden tips, and other information that doesn’t fit into a blog post.  You can look at my Facebook page here or click the Like button on my right sidebar here.

Notes: Every word that appears in orange on my blog is a link that you can click for more information.  If you want to return to my blog’s homepage to access the sidebar information (catalogues, previous articles, etc.) or to subscribe to my blog, just click here.

 

October GBBD: A Few Fall Favorites for Flowers

Posted in Fall, Fall Color, Garden Blogger's Bloom Day, landscape design, native plants, Shade Gardening, Shade Perennials with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 10, 2011 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

The subtle coloring of ‘White Towers’ toad-lily, Tricyrtis latifolia ‘White Towers’, is magical in the fall.  Every photo was taken at Carolyn’s Shade Gardens this fall.

I am linking this post to Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day for October when gardeners around the world show photos of what’s blooming in their gardens (follow the link to see  photographs from other garden bloggers assembled by Carol at May Dreams Gardens).  I am also linking to Gesine’s Bloom Day at Seepferds Garten.  I am located in Bryn Mawr (outside Philadelphia), Pennsylvania, U.S., and zone 6b.

In my last post, A Few Fall Favorites for Foliage and Fruit,  I explained that, inspired by an article about dressing up your fall garden with mums because everything else is finished, I grabbed my camera and headed outside to prove them wrong.  There was so much going on that I divided the plants into three posts: foliage and fruit, flowers, and hostas for fall.  This is part two highlighting flowers.  So here are some of the flowers dressing up my shady gardens right now:

Japanese anemones, Anemone x hybrida, are one of the undisputed stars of my fall garden, growing anywhere from full sun to almost full shade and thriving no matter what the weather.  Clockwise from upper left: ‘Honorine Joubert’, ‘Margarete’, ‘Whirlwind’, ‘Bodnant Burgundy’, ‘September Charm’.

The black plumes of ‘Moudry’ fountain grass, Pennisetum alopecuroides ‘Moudry’, glow in the low-angled fall light.  ‘Moudry’ does well in the shade, flowering later and remaining more compact.

I grow about five different varieties of native golden rod, Solidago,  with my current favorite ‘Little Lemon’, growing only 12 to 18″ high.  Contrary to popular belief, goldenrod does not cause allergies as it is pollinated by insects.  Wind pollinated ragweed, which blooms at the same time, is the culprit.

Toad-lilies, Tricyrtis, bloom throughout the fall in full shade with ‘Sinonome’ just getting started now and continuing into November.  Clockwise from upper left: ‘Sinonome’, ‘White Towers’, ‘Miyazaki’, ‘Empress’.

Another plant that is just warming up is Pennsylvania native northern sea oats, Chasmanthium latifolium.  Its foliage will turn orange later in the fall and then dry to a beautiful khaki for the winter.  Be forewarned, however, when this plant reaches critical mass, it starts spreading, and its wiry roots are very difficult to remove.  Give it room and then triple the space you think you need.

Autumn leadwort, Ceratostigma plumbaginoides, is one of my favorite groundcovers.  Its true blue flowers start blooming in June and continue through October when its leaves turn bright red.

Pennsylvania native ‘Bluebird’ smooth aster, A. laevis ‘Bluebird’, seeds all around my garden in full sun to part shade.  Butterflies and bees love it.  Please click here to find out why most native cultivars are just as friendly to native fauna as the species.

‘Zebrina’ hollyhock mallow, Malva sylvestris ‘Zebrina’, seems to move around my garden at will, but it never fails to steal the show with its 3 to 4′ stalks loaded with showy flowers.  It grows best in full to part sun.

Fall-blooming hardy cyclamen, Cyclamen hederifolium, is one of the plants I would take to my shady “desert island”.  Right now its pink or white flowers are floating all around my shady gardens.  Later its evergreen leaves will emerge from summer dormancy and look like the photo on the left all winter long.

I am always raving about the foliage of the coral bell cultivars derived from our Pennsylvania native Heuchera villosa.  Well this is the plant that started it all, Heuchera villosa ‘Autumn Bride’.  It has very large and attractive fuzzy green leaves and beautiful flowers that bloom right now–this is the only cultivar I would grow for its flowers (the rest I grow for the leaves).

The cultivar ‘Cory’ of Pennsylvania native hardy ageratum, Eupatorium coelestinum, is far superior to the straight species.  It has more abundant and showier flowers, ornamental purple stems, interesting crinkled leaves, and a much better upright habit.  ‘Cory’ is also a good spreader in sun to part shade so give it room.  Pictured above with another of my favorite Pennsylvania natives, wrinkleleaf goldenrod, Solidago rugosa ‘Fireworks’.

Hardy begonias, Begonia grandis, have spread all over my garden in full shade, and I have yet to find a place that I don’t want them.  Because they come up very late in May and really just get going in the fall, I use them to fill in between my hostas on my back hill.  

Pennsylvania native Joe Pye weed, Eupatorium dubium, reaches 10′ tall in my garden and flops over in our torrential rains.  The “dwarf” version called ‘Little Joe’ grows to a diminutive 5′ tall and has remained erect through the 30″ of rain we had in August and September to bloom now with its large purple flowers–a magnet for butterflies and bees.

In the spring, a gardener I very much admire brought over this plant, telling me it was a salvia with yellow flowers that grows in full shade and blooms in the fall.  I duly planted it in my shady “yellow garden” and it thrived through heat, drought, and rain with no attention.  It is called woodland sage, Salvia koyamae.

I am just beginning to learn about hydrangeas because until last year there was no point in planting them because of the deer.  One of my first acquisitions after the netting went up was ‘Limelight’, Hydrangea paniculata ‘Limelight’.  The large white flowers aging to pink have been blooming all summer in part shade, and there are still buds coming—very impressive.

If you want a multitude of fall flowers in dry, full shade, you can’t find a better plant than Pennsylvania native blue wood aster, Aster cordifolius.  It fills in all the difficult sites in my woodland and produces a glorious blue haze in the fall.

It is fitting that I should end with my favorite Pennsylvania native perennial for fall, garden phlox, Phlox paniculata.  I love everything about garden phlox: its heavenly fragrance, its long bloom time from early summer through fall, the wealth of colors available, its polite self-sowing, and its attraction to butterflies.  I dream of installing a meadow area and collecting dozens of plants of every phlox cultivar out there!

Of the 17 photos above, 8 picture plants that are native to Pennsylvania and eastern North America.  I believe that planting native plants is crucial to our survival.  Please take the time to read this short essay explaining why.  And Pennsylvania’s native plants really come into their own in the fall eliminating the need for dressing with mums!


Click to enlarge

Carolyn

To read Part 1, A Few Fall Favorites for Foliage and Fruit, click here.  Stay tuned for Part 3, Hostas for Fall.  In the interest of full disclosure, I must confess that sadistic botanists have recently changed the botanical names of many of the native plants that I highlighted to completely unpronounceable and unspellable but “botanically proper” names.  At this point, I refuse to follow.


Notes:
Every word that appears in orange on my blog is a link that you can click for more information.  If you want to return to my blog’s homepage to access the sidebar information (catalogues, previous articles, etc.), just click here.

Nursery Happenings: The nursery closes for the year on October 16.

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