Nowadays, we have access to several plants that give a spectacular scenery in the fall. Some even show their presence in the spring or summer by the beauty of their foliage, the color of their stem or simply by their ability to fill the empty spaces left bare by the summer stars.
Here are some of these plants that reveal their most beautiful assets when their companions bid their farewell:
Black Bugbane – Actaea racemosa (Syn. Cimicifuga racemosa)
Able to grow up to 150 cm (5 ft.) tall and 60 cm (2 ft.) wide, the black bugbane is a beautiful plant native to North America. This perennial plant, which flowers in late July and August, forms long erect spikes with small fragrant white flowers. It is hardy in zone 3. The black bugbane grows best in shaded conditions than in full sun, as well as in rich, deep soil. It is good to water it in times of drought. Finally, it has a very attractive foliage resembling that of the false spirea.
Red Turtlehead– Chelone obliqua
This plant whose flowers look like a turtle head (hence its English name turtlehead) gives pink flowers that begin in late August to extend until October. Native to North America, this perennial plant forms a mass of upright stems that reach 50 to 60 cm (20 to 24 inches) high. This plant tolerates many exposures whether it is a medium shade, a light shade or full sun. It must be grown in rich, moist soil.
Rose of Sharon ‘Oiseau Bleu’ – Hibiscus syriacus ‘Oiseau bleu’
It was unthinkable to grow a perennial hibiscus in our harsh climates. It was an underestimation of the adaptability of the ‘Oiseau Bleu’ hibiscus, which can reach 1 m (3 ft.) n height and often more depending on the region where it is grown and the heat of the season. Acknowledged as hardy only in zone 5, sometimes 6, it resists well enough to Quebec winters of the other regions if it is cultivated under a good blanket of snow or it is offered a winter mulch for protection. This malvaceae, which prefers a sunny and sheltered place, exhibits beautiful lavender blue flowers with a red core. The Rose of Sharon ‘Oiseau Bleu’, thrives well in a light and well drained soil. This plant, even if it flowers late in the season, deserves a try in our gardens.
Antilles Hortensia ‘Endless Summer’ – Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Endless Summer’
‘Endless Summer’ gives, at the end of July, flattened balls of blue flowers 20 to 25 cm (8 to 10 inches) in diameter. The flowers are formed both on the previous year’s wood and on the year’s new shoot. In addition, the flower buds succeed one another during flowering, thus producing a continuous flowering. This cultivar does not require winter protection, except for a good 10 cm (4 in) of mulch to protect its roots from freezing and thawing during the winter. It is therefore an excellent substitute for the large-leafed hortensia ‘Nikko Blue’, whose flowering aborts in many regions of Quebec.
Large leaf Hortensia ‘Light-O-Day’ – Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Light-O-Day’
This mutation of the popular ‘Endless Summer’ big leaf hortensia should tolerate cold in many regions of Quebec. The leaves are variegated with creamy white. Its sterile flowers turn pink or blue (depending on the soil’s degree of acidity), while the small, fertile flowers are rather whitish. This shrub forms a mound 1.2 m (4 ft.) high and wide
Yellow Rudbeckia – Rudbeckia fulgida
These yellow daisies are another value for our gardens, their hardiness is excellent in our climate. The yellow rudbackia ‘Goldsturm’ (Rudbeckia fulgida ‘Goldsturm’) is the best known of the group. The yellow petals line a brown-black cone. The flowering of this perennial plant, easy to grow, illuminates the corner of the garden where it is installed. Other representatives of the Rudbeckia genus, such as Rudbeckia maxima and Rudbeckia laciniata, are also good candidates for our fall gardens.
Cup-Plant – Silphium perfoliatum
The cup-plant becomes a point of attraction in August and September by its majestic habit and its elevation. This perennial plant can reach 2.5 m (8 ft.) in height and 1 m (3 ft.) in width in one year. Its flowering arises at the end of a very robust square stem. Its yellow flowers 5 to 8 cm (2 to 3 in.) in diameter have a tendency to turn to the east. Its 35 cm (14 in) leaves are opposite, that is, they face each other almost at a 90˚ angle. In addition, they are joined by the base to form a cup that keeps dew and rain water. This plant native to North America is grown in a deep and moderately fertile soil, in the sun or partial shade.
Hairy Toad Lily – Tricyrtis hirta
This easy to grow plant of oriental origin, should be planted under a slightly shaded exposure where the plant will settle quietly over the years. Its white, violet-spotted, orchid-like flower surprises us the first time we see it and shows us nature’s know-how. The plant has erect stems which can reach up to 50 to 80 cm (20 to 32 in.) high.