‘Tis the time of year when the bugbane, snakeroot, Cimicifuga or Actaea, pending on which of its ever evolving names one chooses, begins to bloom in Teza’s Garden. It is one of my favourite Fall flowering beauties, and as such, I have these tall, shrub-like garden stalwarts wherever there is room for them!
My favourite remains Actaea simplex ‘Hillside Black Beauty,’ with its deep purple, near black foliage that rises close to 2m in height. Its long arching wands of snake-like flowers add a touch of structural whimsy to the Shaded Walk this time of year, and as mentioned earlier, the delightful aroma leaves me next to breathless!
I also grow ‘Brunette,’ ‘Black Negligee,’ White Pearls,’ and ‘Pink Spike,’ which is supposed to surpass the fragrance of all that have come before. Truth be told, I have yet to see her bloom in my garden, but perhaps the fault lies in where I have planted her. Somehow she has a hard time competing against an overzealous Euphorbia cornigera ‘Goldener Turm’ that has all but smothered her! Note to self: transplant Pink Spike this fall!
This remains one of my favourite gardening seasons, what with the cooler temperatures, and the presence of the late flowering beauties such as Kirengeshoma, Aconitum and the delightful Aster ‘Little Carlow’ – all of a palate that fluctuates between rich blue-purple to the endearing whipped buttery yellow!
While it remains somewhat elusive to photograph, one of my favourite late season bloomers is Strobilanthes attenuata ‘Purpurea’ a towering beauty to 2m that covers the end of its stems with a rich blue purple flower that closely resembles a ram’s horn. Literally hundreds of flowers between mid August to late September. This afternoon, the ground beneath it was a blanket of this same rich colour. The flowers usually fall within a day or so, but there is always a multitude to replace them!
The later of the two Kirengeshoma that I grow [ the earlier being K. koreana – by far the more handsome of the two with its pewter coated palmate foliage and flowers that are decidedly more upright in appearance] this one being K. palmata, continue to delight me with it’s waxy whipped buttery yellow shuttlecock shaped flowers! The abundance of moisture this Spring has resulted in both clumps nearly tripling in size! I may have to start referring to their home as the ‘Waxbell Walk!’
Head and shoulders [well not really, as she is somewhat more diminutive in height!'] above all other Fall flowering Asters is A. cordifolius ‘Little Carlow’ – which in my humble opinion remains the most handsome! Shiny, deep green lance shaped foliage is a far cry from the powdery mildew susceptible stalks of many of the other Michaelmas daisies. Its opalescent mauve flowers contain a bright yellow boss before being pollinated as the season progresses!
I have always dreamt of having my signature plant blooming in the Fall garden, and on one or two occasions in the past four years, was blessed with a somewhat fleeting presence. This year, thanks largely to yet another Lost Horizons acquisition, I am enjoying this exact wish! Corydalis ‘Wildside Blue’ has been blooming nonstop since I brought it home last month! Indigenous to the gardens of esteemed plantsman Keith Wiley’s Devon, England nursery, it appears to be a much more vigorous grower and bloomer than other blue flowering species! Music to this gardeners ears!