Friday, October 23, 2009

Helianthus angustifolius, Swamp of the classic "fall perennials"

This is a wonderful plant; it blooms for a reasonably long period in the fall, it gets up to bout 6' in height, and despite superficially looking like just another weeds composite, it has a sort of dignity and bearing that belies that initial impression. And it doesn't need to grow in a swamp. Average garden conditions are fine. Planting in a border or a mass planting will provide support for a plant that can potentially splay open as this one has. Is it any less beautiful this way? I don't think so.

There is that old saw about gardening that suggests that new gardeners favor annuals and as their sophistication progresses, move to perennials, on to shrubs and finally to trees. No doubt there's a grain of truth there, however small. I've noticed that beginning gardeners tend to focus on spring, then move to summer, then fall, and eventually end up planting for winter. Some of us. Sort of.

Anyway, though fall generally provides all the splendor and extravagance we need, there are a few traditional standards and this is one of them. Also good are Chrysanthemum rubellum vars., and so many Asters; I favor Symphiotrichum oblongifolia. There are some spectacular specimens in the Youth Garden border. Allen Lacy's The Garden in Autumn, is a great book: well written, pleasantly readable, and a great introduction to the garden plants of fall..

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