Catching Up with Late Season Color

Fall, like the summer, has sped by.  But I did manage to get out and enjoy the late-flowering beauties in the garden and wanted to share.
Meadow Border

The meadow border runs along one side of the property, and half of it is planted with pollinators and grasses.  (The rest is planted with shrubs and non-native perennials.)  The design of this section continues to evolve, but there are some great late-summer plants there that thrive with minimal care.
This flowers in this first picture include blue anise hyssop (Agastache foeniculum), orange sneezeweed (Helenium ‘Mardi Gras’), and white boneset (Eupatorium perfoliatum) in the back right. The grasses are a volunteer switchgrass (Panicum)  and little bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium).  The very front is nut sedge – please ignore that! The background shrub layer is the smooth hydrangea (Hydrangea arborescens).
Two years ago, I planted some spotted bee balm (Monarda punctata) toward the front of the border, and it did well for two years.  It is a short-lived perennial that can self-seed, and this year it did not emerge where I had planted it.  I crossed my fingers that they would indeed self-seed in my garden and later in the summer I found this plant tucked in towards the back, almost out of sight.  It is satisfying when nature’s processes match what I want to happen!

A few weeks later, below, the same Helenium as in the first picture is fading, but the goldenrod (Solidago rugosa ‘Fireworks’) is emerging in front of the boneset. I love this particular shape, with the blooms lined up on arching stems. This cultivar is not supposed to spread as quickly as the species, and we will be watching closely.

Cottage Garden

Right behind the house is a cottage-style garden that was mostly non-natives and is now being gradually shifted to more native plants.  Below is half of one side – the statue is in the middle.  Starting to turn red, just beyond the statue, are sundrops (Oenothera), and beyond that are blanket flower (Gaillardia), Agastache, and more Helenium.  The non-natives plants are aster, a dwarf blue spruce, gold-leaf caryopteris, sedum ‘Autumn Joy’, spirea, and hydrangea.

I can’t resist ending with a couple of lovely close-ups. Enjoy!


  1. Ma’am,
    I have a sun dappled, therefore, shade dappled environment in the southeast…Charlotte, NC to be exact.
    I would love to introduce Goldenrod into the garden. Any suggestions?
    A Secret Admirer


    • Hello, I’m so glad you are interested in goldenrod! It’s a great plant, and there is even a whole new post just on goldenrod for you to peruse. In terms of growing goldenrod in North Carolina, you are in luck – they are hardy to zone 8 or 9, so should do fine in your part-sun part-shade location.
      Goldenrod isn’t exactly popular in most nurseries, so I wouldn’t be picky, just get a few of whatever species they carry. Or you can order from a mail-order nursery – the ones in the Midwest have a lot of native goldenrod species they will ship to you as plugs or small plants. Search for nurseries with “Prairie” or “Meadow” in the title and you will find several.
      Have fun with this great plant!


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