Great Perennials for Late Season Color

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August and September are challenging months for gardeners. Summer is almost over and some gardens are getting pretty tired. It’s hot and dry for many of us and we are just waiting out the late summer doldrums until the first couple of frosts have come and we can finally chop everything to the ground. There are, however, some outstanding plants that can brighten things up if you have the space for them. They tend to be large and look best best in sizable swaths.

The picture above is Phlox ‘Blue Paradise’ growing in the Color Wheel Garden at Mission Oaks here in Zanesville, Ohio. It has been blooming for well over a month which is a fantastic bloom time for a perennial.

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This is one of my all time favorites, Helenium ‘Red Jewel’. I love all helenium but this one is particularly beautiful with just a hint of blue in the red. It is the shade of red we gardeners are always searching for but can rarely find in flowers. It is well-behaved too needing no staking! Helenium ‘Rubinzwerg’ is also a nice red but ever so slightly more orangey/red.

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Agastache ‘Blue Fortune‘ blooming it’s head off here at the Cora E. Rogge Pavilion in Zanesville. Agastache has an incredibly long bloom time and it is a HUGE bee attractor so if you don’t like having bees buzzing around don’t plant this because they will be with you for a long time!

A couple of weeks later at the pavilion the Korean Feather Reed Grass which I alternated with the Agastache has come into bloom. This grass is complimented by sunlight like no other and even does well in part shade!
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Hydrangea ‘Little Lime’ has so many attributes I hardly know where to begin. It is hardy and heat tolerant. It works in part shade to full sun. It will grow and flower in mostly shade but it does not achieve the same healthy, beautiful shape and fullness than it would with more sun. It stays below 4 feet and is perfectly manageable. It blooms for ever and then gets even prettier in late summer as the petals get a warm rosy hue on the edges.
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Below is Lobelia syphilitica growing next to Little Bluestem Grass in our Rain Garden at Mission Oaks. It is a hardy native that will seed itself nicely in your garden. The more the better. It is a great filler for sun or shade and if it pops up along the edge where it will be too tall you just pull it out.
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Nothing compares to design by nature. This location had a fabulous spread of Camassia in the spring and now appears with a wonderful Monet-like blurr of Ironweed.
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Ohio native Rudbeckia hirta
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An entire road bank is covered here by the native Impatiens pallidaSept '13 096

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