Fall is here, but you can keep planting


PITTSBURGH — Many people quit planting after spring, but seasoned gardeners know that late summer and early fall are great times to accent boring plantings or re-do tired beds. You’ll also save money since many nurseries discount perennials, shrubs and trees now.

I thought it was a good time to talk about some of my favorite plants and to approach experienced gardeners and professionals about theirs. Most are perennials and shrubs and can be planted now, but some are annuals to put on your list for next season.

‘PRIMAL SCREAM’

Even though I hate the color orange, I absolutely love the daylily ‘Primal Scream.’ The flower is huge and its tangerine/pink color pops in the flower bed. When I first saw this plant, it cost more than $75. These days, you can get it lots cheaper — as low as $15.

As with most daylilies, they require minimal care. I do shear my daylilies back to about 8 inches from the ground after they finish blooming. They will flush up fresh growth that doesn’t look so bedraggled at the end of the season.

Panicle hydrangeas are workhorses in the garden, easily surviving the most horrific winter weather without a blink. My favorite cultivar is ‘Limelight,’ and for those with small spaces, ‘Little Lime’ works well. The blooms’ creamy chartreuse color is lovely, especially when paired with scarlet roses. It also blooms later in the season, providing color after some garden stalwarts are finished.

‘LITTLE TWITCH’

Richard Liberto, owner of Liberto Landscape Design, recommends ‘Walker’s Low’ and ‘Little Twitch’ nepata, two cultivars of catmint. He loves them because they are “reliable, hardy, deer-PROOF, long-blooming AND an excellent pollinator,” he says.

‘Banana Cream’ Shasta daisy (Leucanthemum x superbum) is a compact cultivar growing 15- to-18 inches tall and 24 inches wide. Semi-double, lemon-yellow flowers that fade to creamy white bloom profusely from late spring through summer. It has dark green semi-glossy foliage that is resilient to white flies, aphids and beetles, and once established, it’s drought-tolerant.

“I consider ‘Banana Cream’ to be the mainstay of the perennial border, cottage garden, rock gardens, pots and most definitely the small garden,” he says.

SPIGELIA MARILANDICA

Penn State Extension and Post-Gazette columnist Sandy Feather says she has many favorite plants.

“Right this minute, Indian pink (Spigelia marilandica) is in full bloom in my yard. It blooms all summer and the buds look like rubies. I have it in sun and shade and it does very well.”

‘FOREVER PURPLE’ HEUCHERA

Susan Silverman, a past winner of the PG’s Great Gardens Contest and a gifted master gardener, loves ‘Forever Purple’ coral bells (Heuchera). “The color is incredible.”

Sarah Mendak and her partner, Susie Lobdell, own Flower Pots LLC (www.flowerpotnursery.com)

‘Forest Pansy’ redbud (Cersis candensis); blueberries (white flowers in the spring, edible berries and red fall color); and creeping Jenny (Lysimachia nummularia) — “so versatile, great for container gardening, groundcover and excellent for water gardening.”

She also likes lady’s mantle (Alchemilla mollis), a clumping perennial, and Leyland cypress, a great, fast-growing privacy screen that is deer-resistant.

Bernadette Kazar, another Great Gardens contest winner, chose love-lies-bleeding (Amaranthus caudatus), an annual that grows quickly from seed.

“Got hooked on this plant a few years ago,” she says. “I call this plant the fringe of my garden. Its long red tassels hang gracefully almost to the ground. The 5- to 6-foot height makes it an eye-catcher.”

She also loves tree lilies, which have huge, fragrant blooms and top out at 4-6 feet. They should be planted in the fall. “When you have a group of these, they perfume the entire garden.”

Calla lilies are a third favorite: “I think of this flower as my tailor plant — simple, upright and elegant.”

‘QUICK FIRE’ PANICLE HYDRANGEA

Bobbie Smith, another contest winner, raves about ‘Quick Fire’ panicle hydrangea (H. paniculata). This early bloomer has vibrant green foliage and long-lasting flowers that open pure white and turn pink. In the fall, the flowers become rosy pink and the leaves turn gold and burgundy.

“Stunning plant!” she says. “Blooms on new growth, which is another nice feature for ease of pruning and size control.”



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Community

AC/DC co-founder Malcolm Young dead at 64
AC/DC co-founder Malcolm Young dead at 64

Rhythm guitarist Malcolm Young, the co-founder of the rock ’n’ roll group AC/DC, died Saturday, Rolling Stone reported and the band announced on its website. He was 64. Young had been suffering from dementia for the past three years, which forced his retirement from the band that he founded with his brother Angus Young in 1973...
Louisiana veteran entertains motorists with saxophone
Louisiana veteran entertains motorists with saxophone

A Vietnam War veteran has become a fixture for music lovers in his Louisiana town. Donald Givens plays saxophone for several hours daily in his gazebo at his Monroe residence. His yard is located near the corner of two overpasses and commuters can listen to his daily jam sessions, the News-Star reported. Strangers pull up to his home and ask Givens...
Stolen Van Halen guitar returned to Hard Rock Cafe in Texas
Stolen Van Halen guitar returned to Hard Rock Cafe in Texas

A guitar owned by rock ’n’ roll legend Eddie Van Halen worth more than $100,000 was recovered Friday, hours after it was stolen from a Hard Rock Cafe in San Antonio, Texas, KSAT reported. The guitar, nicknamed “Frankenstrat,” had been reported stolen around 1 a.m. Friday. It was returned later in the day, but it is unclear how...
Like black licorice? It could land you in the hospital, FDA warns
Like black licorice? It could land you in the hospital, FDA warns

Black licorice looks innocent enough. But eat enough of those sticks or candies, and you could suffer the consequences. We’re not talking about weight gain or tooth decay. We’re talking bonafide, serious health issues like arrhythmia, reports the FDA. Blame it on one ingredient. Glycyrrhizin, the sweetening compound derived from licorice...
The graying of America is stretching local tax dollars
The graying of America is stretching local tax dollars

WASHINGTON - More and more these days, when paramedics in Fairfax, Virginia, respond to emergency calls, they find an older person who has fallen, broken a bone or suffered a heart attack. Meanwhile in nearby Montgomery County, Maryland, authorities are investigating an increasing number of elder-abuse cases and crimes targeting senior citizens. In...
More Stories