The Late Summer Border

Late Season Gardens

After the brilliant display of flowers through the summer, a third wave, late in the season, of color brightens up the perennial garden. Mixed among these autumn blooming flowers are the annuals which, with conscientious deadheading, continue to bloom until the first frost. Though there is the occasional pink flower, the colors of the garden become shades of yellow, orange and purple.

Later in the season, the flowers, especially those of the sedum and black-eyed Susan are wonderful, even as the flowers fade. Their flowers become brown and rust colored seed heads which fit in perfectly with the colorful fall foliage of the surrounding trees. Like mid-season flowers, these perennials generally prefer a sunny location. The foliage of the late season perennial is attractive on its own. 

Black Eyed SusanBecause they flower so late in the season, their foliage serves as a green backdrop to the rest of the flowers though the summer. Once the blooms of these flower fade deciding whether to cut them back or not up to the individual. Some perennials will collapse to the ground regardless, others will remain standing though the winter with their showy seed heads creating off season interest in the garden. Ornamental grasses have spectacular seed heads which sway in the wind and, if left standing, provide the garden with winter interest.

Great Late Season Perennials:

Sedum-Autumn-Joy – Very lush and dense foliage through the summer and reddish flowers which turn rust colored later in the fall.  Kept through the winter, the dried flowers are quite attractive through the winter.

Aster – A daisy-like flower with a wide range of colors, among them, purples, pinks, white, yellow, oranges and magenta

Chrysanthemum – Offers a wide selection of colors for the fall garden.

Black-Eyed Susan – Forms showy yellow flowers which turn to brown seed head in the fall.

Globe Thistle – A tall perennial with round, spiky blue flowers,  The seed heads are worth keeping through the winter.  Attracts birds.

Hosta – A versatile perennial which can thrive in many garden conditions; sun or shade, rich or poor soils.  Bloom in late summer with white or purple flowers.

Related Articles: Perennials, Annuals, Easy Care Perennials, Garden Preparation