Fall Flowers’ Last Hurrah

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Fall Flowers’ Last Hurrah

Categories: Blog, Garden Guru

The last of the showy flowers still shine at Powell Gardens. Get out for a visit this weekend as it is for many, the last chance to see. Jack Frost did not pay a garden-wide visit so there is still much to see.

Pineapple Sage (Salvia elegans) is in full flower now. Its scented foliage and true red, tubular flowers are always a hit. It is not fully hardy unless planted against a warm foundation, and occasionally Jack Frost removes it before full flower. The picture is from the fragrant border of the Perennial Garden — the sage grows at the base of a Seven Sons tree.

Seven Sons tree (Heptacodium miconioides) fragrant fall flowers are now its unique pink fruit! As I said in an earlier blog; this plant looks like it blooms white, then pink but is actually the flowers becoming fruit.

The last of the fall anemones is in bloom and a startling white at that: Japanese Anemone ‘Andrea Atkinson.’ Look for this beautiful perennial against the woodland section at the north end of the Perennial Garden.

The winter foliage of Hardy Cyclamen (Cyclamen hederifolium) has emerged as the last of its flowers fade and turn into seed pods on spiral stems. The leaves will last through the winter making it one of the best perennials for winter interest in a shade garden. Look for these near the bronze plaque of the Rock & Waterfall Garden.

A mass of Hillside Sheffield Pink Chrysanthemums greets visitors to the Island Garden.

A closeup of Hillside Sheffield Pink mum shows why it is a perennial favorite: covered in single, apricot pink blooms at the end of the season. Every beneficial bug within miles comes to dine on its nectar so it is a very good insectaries and butterfly garden plant.

This is a hardy mum in the Perennial Garden we received from Friends member Jackie Goetz. She has had mums self-sow in her garden for more than 20 years and they are great magnets for late season butterflies. We call one of them ‘Jackie’s Butterfly Magnet’ for that reason.

When Jackie’s Mums were planted near Hillside Sheffield Pink mums there was a little “hanky panky” going on courtesy of the insects. Our former Gardener Chris Conatser planted this blend of seedlings in a grouping and called it “Powell Pastel” mums. Chris has now crashed the culinary scene in Greater Kansas City and works at Justus Drugstore in Smithville.

Mark Gawron, Senior Gardener on the Island Garden, has allowed the best tropical waterlilies to continue to shine in the Island Garden’s pools (well Mother Nature insisted because of the mild weather). The very fragrant ‘Albert Greenburg‘ Waterlily was photographed today and my how it still shines. This weekend is your last chance to see waterlilies.

The Victoria Waterlilies are also hanging on with a very late bloom. Again, last chance to see until 2009!

The Island Garden’s living wall still has many flowering beauties, the best of which are Autumn Sages (Salvia greggii) and their hybrids. This is the new ‘Ultra Violet’ Sage a cross between Salvia greggii and Salvia lycioides from Ft. Collins, CO, and selected by premier plantsman Lauren Springer and husband Scott Ogden.

All the cool season flowers are in the beds around the Visitor Center; a place full of ideas for what you should plant in containers and outdoors now. This bed is outside Cafe Thyme and contains frost tolerant Ruby Perfection Cabbage, Pansies, Snapdragons and Dianthus. Many of these cold hardy annuals will survive until spring. Come out to Powell Gardens now for the last hurrah of our floral season!