In the Garden:
Mid-Atlantic
September, 2003
Regional Report

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Cleome is still blooming strong, and sedums in the background are just beginning to turn from green to pink.

Flowers of Fall

As I wander through the garden at this time of year, I am always surprised at the flowers there. Fall does not seem like it should be a season of bloom, but it is -- or it can be, if you plan it that way.

Annuals
Many annuals put on a great show now. Zinnias and morning glories are going gangbusters along with geraniums, marigolds, and both blue and red salvia. The pink, white, and purple cleome plants are huge, and although they are setting seed now, their flowers are still big and bold. The flowering tobacco or nicotiana that self seeds in my garden is in full bloom, too. Its fragrance is enchanting at night -- although its white tubular flowers take on a hangdog look by day. The shaded impatiens beds are at their best now, full and lush carpets of bloom. And the little violas and snapdragons are perking up again, appreciative of the cooler temperatures.

Tropicals
Most of the tropical patio plants that were delayed by our cool, cloudy spring have finally come into their own. The mandevilla's pink trumpets are glorious, the cannas are in full swing, and the tropical hibiscus patio trees are lovely. My only complaint here is that the sweet potato vines are way below their potential and have not yet grown as luxuriantly as they should have. Sometimes things just don't work out.

Perennials
The fall perennials are coming into their own. The Japanese anemones and the Tricyrtis or toad lilies will bloom over a long period, depending on variety, from mid-August to October. The hardy begonia has an exceptionally long bloom period, as do the sedums. The sturdy, trouble-free sedums have begun to show some color and the flowers will continue to change color (some to pink, some to brick red) gradually until frost. Meanwhile the summer bloomers -- caryopteris, purple coneflower, black-eyed Susan, hyssop, Joe Pye weed, a few late daylilies and hostas, the crape myrtle and hardy shrub hibiscus, and perennial sweet peas -- are all still in bloom although waning a bit. And the asters and mums have yet to begin!

All in all, not a bad show for September.


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