The Violet Fern

A Colorful Tale of a Garden in the Making

Eight, Nine, Ten Picks for Diana!


I am really trying to join Diana of Elephant’s Eye in choosing twelve months of my favorite garden plants. Since when does a month go by so fast? Not just one, but three and here it is Fall already. I expect our first frost any night. I think my garden shines in Fall and it is one of my favorite times to be in it. It could be that I have some excellent Fall plants that glow in the cooler days, dewy mornings and chilly nights. So, it would be some of these plants that I would choose for the following months.

August — Joe Pye Weeds. Nothing attracts butterflies and other pollinators like the Joe Pye. They are bold, tall, stately and beautiful in the garden. My Eupatorium Gateway looms over an impressive 6′. Its nodding billow of pink blooms are 8-10″ across, maybe even larger! In August, it is its showiest but its spent blooms, turning a rustic brown, last well into fall. Eupatorium Rugosum or Chocolate Joe Pye blooms later in September, even into October. Its white heads of flowers light up against its dark, chocolatey foliage.

Joe Pye Gateway
Eupatorium Rugosum Chocolate
September — Rudbeckias. My favorites: Rudbeckia Laciniata or Green Cutleaf Coneflower, Rudbeckia Maxima or Giant Coneflower, and of course the staple of all Northeastern Fall gardens, Rudbeckia Hirta or Black-eyed Susans. I may also have Rudbeckia Triloba or Brown-eyed Susan, that popped up from some wildflower seed. I have to take a closer look to distinguish between the two. Either way, a drift of Susans is always the grand finale of Summer. Cutleaf Coneflowers are also big and bold in the garden. Their masses of smaller yellow sunflower-like blooms dance above their almost tropical-looking leaves. Birds and bees love them. I have several plants of Rudbeckia Maxima along the Nice Driveway which is drier. They are still establishing themselves, and have even reseeded in a few spots. I love their tall candle-like cones even after the yellow petals of their blooms have dropped off and their banana-like leaves in blue shades. I catch Chickadees and Gold Finches enjoying their seed.
 A drift of Black-eyed Susans with Joe-Pye in the Bird & Butterfly Garden
Rudbeckia Laciniata
Rudbeckia Laciniata
Rudbeckia Maxima
Rudbeckia Maxima
October — Asters. I admit, my garden needs more Asters! I wish the garden centers around here would sell/push Asters in the Fall instead of just Mums. I don’t buy Mums anymore because most of them aren’t truly hardy here and I hate to just throw them away come December. I have a few Asters at home in my garden: Woods Pink Aster Dumosus, Jim Crockett, and October Skies. October Skies is newly planted and is still establishing. Jim Crockett seems to bloom earlier than most. Woods Pink is now covered in blooms.
Woods Pink, Aster Dumosus
An Aster we came upon in a recent hike.
Possibly Aster drummondii (Drummond’s Aster) or Aster saggitifolius (Arrow-leaved Aster).
Here is a list of my former picks for Diana. Only two more months to go … I am sure they will go quickly.
January: Sunflowers
February: Wild Roses
April: Poppies
May: Iris
June: Alliums
July: Bee Balm

Author: Kathy Sturr

Cultivating art, growing soul, and creating plant-based food in the beautiful 1000 Islands, New York and Cedar Key, Old Florida.

6 thoughts on “Eight, Nine, Ten Picks for Diana!

  1. mmm chocolate and cream! Black-eyed Susan in a South African garden would be a twining creeper Thunbergia. Add starry October Skies. I'll tuck your post away for adding to my October choice.

  2. Hi Diana, our nurseries sell Thunbergia as annual vines here. This summer I had a pretty one that was a darker orange/red – beautiful! I wish I could grow them as perennials so that they would become larger. I'm sure they are striking in your garden.

  3. Kathy you have 3 of my fav fall plants…especially the asters…I have tons and as they seed themselves I am forever moving them…many are wild and I don't even know what they are…we have had no frosts yet but we are set for a freeze if the clouds stay away Fri night…

  4. Joe pye weed is one of my favorite plants as well.

  5. Love Joe Pye weed, especially around our pond.

Thank you for joining me in the making of my garden!

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