Maine Gardener: Plant some late-season eyeglasses

Sometimes the garden needs a blue chair.

My wife, Nancy, followed that advice forty years ago when she began taking landscape-design lessons through the Maine Garden Club Federation and has since worked on our own and other people’s gardens.

The blue chair is figurative. Our carnivorous blue chair has never been seen, and I do not remember seeing one of the many gardens I visited. It refers to something large and colorful that could be a focal point. Many gardens have lost all their flowers and are especially needed at this time when they are basically green – unless they have already started to turn brown.

For me, that prominent plant is a tall (at least 4 feet) year old with bright and abundant flowers that can catch 100 or more feet in your eyes. We are not talking about blindness here.

Helianus, Or sunflower for many years, is a prime example. Some species grow up to 10 feet tall. The flowers are usually bright yellow, or sometimes red and orange. They can be a little aggressive by spreading rhizomes, and if they do not get at least five hours of sun a day they will slip – not a good sight. However, they do well in large areas of soil, and these long-lasting crises begin to bloom in early August and remain in bloom for about two months as early as the first frost. They are native to the plains of America.

He is another winner in the alphabetical catalog next to Heliantos. Helenium, With a common common sneezing name – not given by sneezing to allergy sufferers, as it was previously a lazy substance. Helennium, native to North America, grows up to 7 feet tall and has pure yellow flowers or small red and orange blossoms.

One of my favorite flowers, coreopsis tripteris, Grows between our path and the garden; They reach 7 feet or more. Nancy bought the seeds from the American Horticultural Society a long time ago and grew up. In recent years, bright yellow flowers began in late August or early September, but began to bloom in mid-August this year — probably the result of a warm June. It is native to Pennsylvania to Florida as well as to Quebec and Ontario. I found some species of plants in some local catalogs, probably about 5 feet.

New England’s Esther attracts a lot of pollen. Joe Fellaen / Kenneth Journal

He is one of the tallest, the native flowers that bloom Esther of New England, Which produces violet, pink and blue flowers and grows up to 6 feet tall. It needs full sun but stands for shade and a wide variety of soils. As the name implies, Esther is a native of Maine, New England. Accordingly, it supports a variety of native bees, moths, and butterflies. Growing instructions usually recommend cutting the trunks back in mid-July, but I will be here for many years, ignoring that advice.

Two other plants that fit into the late-flowering, eye-catching fall category are in high demand.

Monarch butterflies lay their eggs in the milk, in this swampy dairy product, because caterpillars are the only plants that eat their seeds. Derrick Davis / Staff Photographer

one, Swamp milk Or asclepias incarnata, grows up to 7 feet tall in our garden and attracts bees as well as the eggs of all the butterflies and other dairy products that depend entirely on it. The flowers on this list are as purple as any other plant. But there are many threats to royal butterflies (a group of biologists have appealed to the American Fish and Wildlife Service to classify the species as a “threat”), which every gardener should have.

Joe Pie Weed, Eupatorium purpureum, is brighter purple than marsh milk, and blooms later. It is also a magnet for butterflies. Both plants love the full sun, but stand in a certain shade and do not worry about soil types. If you are interested, you can install the “Little Joe” in 4 feet and Baby 2 in the short version of Joe Pie.

I will save what I love for the last time. These are Strong hibiscus, Or swearing.

This is where incorrect plant names can cause problems. Many beautiful plants are called hibiscus. Many people know the tropical hibiscus that grows in places like Hawaii. They are beautiful, but you can’t raise them outdoors in Maine. The hibiscus shrubs that can grow in Maine are also known as Sharon Rose. They bloom late and are wonderful. But my focus is not on the bushes but on the flowers.

The strong annual hibiscus covers many non-Maine species, although some are as close as Massachusetts. Many experts now recommend planting wildlife instead of direct species for the benefit of domestic wildlife. Unfortunately, that advice does not work with heavy hibiscus because the species needs more moist soil than most gardens here.

The annual hibiscus is amazing. They are numerous, often rich flowers, pink, purple, red, and white. They attract the eye. More expensive than most years, they are indifferent, but remember – you are worth it.

Tom Atwell is a freelance gardener in Cape Elizabeth. It can be contacted at: [email protected]


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