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Fall Forward

A recent tweet to the IMA asked the following : @imamuseum are the flower gardens still alive?

Now my first reaction I admit was –Well, what the hell do you think? Was there a nuclear holocaust I missed? But then the reasonable part of my brain kicked in and I figured they were probably really wondering about the annuals and tropicals. Most of these are indeed gone, either damaged by last week’s frost or removed so winter materials could go in.

You will still find a few that were not badly damaged or we simply have not got round to. Don’t let a little frost stop you from coming out to see some “flower gardens”.

We do not do fall pansies and the like because they are too expensive for our fairly short autumnal season. But you might be surprised at how many perennials are still blooming.

Chrysanthemum ‘Sheffield Pink’ is seen here in all its October glory on Oak Island. This is one of the latest mums of the season always making me wonder if the frost is gonna get it. It doesn’t really care about the frost. It’s not pink so much as a soft peach or apricot.

Here is pinkish lavender sport that appeared a couple years back that is doing well. It could be a seedling but mums tend to mutate easily so I think that is the case here.

Tricytus ‘Sinome’ (toadlily) in the overlook garden is placed where it always should be, near a walkway so you can appreciate its intricate patterned orchid-like flowers up close.

Also at the Overlook is this large mass of Persicaria amplexicaulis ‘Golden Arrows’ (mountain fleece). This workhorse of a plant easily has four to five months of bloom. I love the deep but bright burgundy flowers with the chartreuse foliage.

I also love the months of chartreuse foliage before the bloom. Some years there is a bit of Japanese beetle damage but it quickly outgrows the problem.

These Agastache that were a gift from Skagit Gardens have been in bloom since arriving in August.

They are the Nectartm series that comes in Apricot, Grape, Grapefruit, Orange, and Raspberry. Find them growing in full sun in the well-drained soil atop the Tunnel leading from the parking garage to the museum entrance. All Agastache tend to attract hummingbirds and bees and pollinators.

Geranium ‘Rozanne’ has been blooming since May.

You can find some Echinacea still throwing up a few flowers.

In bright shade is Anemone hybrid, fall-blooming or Japanese anemone. It comes in white and an array of pinks.

Most are 30 inches tall and up. But dwarf cultivars are coming to market soon.

Along the Bridge Garden the Cimicifuga rubifolia (Actea rubifolia?), Appalachian bugbane, is in bloom with lots more buds coming. At least this is what I thought it was named at one point.

Aster oblongifolius (now Symphyotrichum oblongifolium) can still be found in bloom as well. Known as aromatic aster, The Rain Garden has ‘Raydon’s Favorite’, a slightly deeper blue color and later blooming plant than the equally beautiful ‘October Skies’.

Don’t forget, color in the garden comes from more than flowers. Fall foliage is still brilliant and everywhere on our 152 acres. Just take some time to stroll about.

Filed under: Art and Nature Park, Greenhouse, Horticulture

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