We are having a gradual transition between summer and fall. Some plants continue along flowering, as if they have never heard of autumn, while others are wearing their yellow and red jackets already.
The bellflowers are firmly of the opinion that you should never give into fall. They keep a stiff upper lip, with leaves green, and flowers blue or purple. Here is Campanula poscharskyana ‘Blue Waterfall’ (blue waterfall bellflower). This low growing bellflower continually sends out many flower stems, each with dozens of blooms, covering the surrounding area with starry beauty. The flowers are created in such profusion, that I don’t deadhead them much. Sometimes I cut off the flower stems that have finished, but it doesn’t seem to affect the amount of blooms. My biggest ‘Blue Waterfall’ with the most blooms is tucked in behind a Hydrangea, on the north side of a fence, with a birdbath on the third side. I’m amazed that it has so many blooms in such a shady area. These should continue bringing summer colour right past the first few light frosts.
The Campanula cochlearifolia (fairy thimble bellflower) are as pretty as they were in June. Their clear blue bells hang down the stalks, looking fresh and dainty. These bellflowers mingle slightly at the edges of the Pulmonaria x ‘Samourai’ (samourai lungwort), blue against silver.
Another bellflower, C. rotundifolia (harebell), also continues to flower, as if summer will never end. These have had their bells since June, weaving among the surrounding plants. Their foliage is so delicate in the shade that it never overshadows the other plants, but the thin flower stalks entwine with their neighbours. The brown leaves that have fallen from the maple are the only clue in this picture that fall has begun.
These mushrooms pop up behind the birdbath every fall. Here they are bursting forth, next to some ‘Blue Waterfall’ bellflowers. They have a unique form as their tops open up and peel back. The outside layer is curling back in petal shapes from the top button.
The Cimicifuga simplex ‘White Pearl’ (bugbane) was probably not the best variety for an area with a short growing season. It flowers extra late, even for a Cimicifuga. It will be lucky to bloom before the first frosts. I’m hoping that the white fairy candle blooms will get a chance to shine before they succumb to the inevitable cold. Late fall flowers give you something to anticipate, but not if the frost gets them first. They are the last blooms that I am waiting for this year.
The Dicentra spectabilis ‘Alba’ (white bleeding heart) have turned an all over yellow for fall, making a nice contrast to the dark green Convallaria majalis (lily of the valley) which surround them. They are very showy in the garden now, like they were in early spring when the long flower stalks were draped with white heart shaped beads. The bleeding hearts are holding onto all of their leaves for now, creating a golden display underneath the willow.
This Heuchera ‘Mint Frost’ has been silver and green for the past 3 months, but now it couldn’t resist the fall peer pressure, and it is sending out some purple veined leaves like its cousins. I don’t know if the whole plant will be more purple next year, or if this is its autumn state, but it has decided to join the colour parade. Around the edges you can see some bellflowers.
The Hydrangea paniculata ‘Little Lamb’ blooms continue getting more beautiful every day. They started off pure white in the summer, and get a deeper rust colour everyday in fall. It is now an intense autumn red colour, much deeper than the PG Hydrangea. I have been very pleased with this shrub, which holds its enormous panicles upwards. You can read more about hardy Hydrangea in this earlier post.
On the cusp of fall, some plants are clinging to summer, and some are joyfully plunging into fall colours. Fall entices us with crisp mornings, beautiful colours, a bounty of food and earthy scents. I reluctantly let go of summer, and delight in the new season. However, eventually the beautiful fall leaves blow away, crisp turns to cold, bounty to barren, and a big white blanket of snow descends. Tricked again, it’s winter. Are you holding onto summer, or celebrating fall?