Fall is an ideal time to plant perennials. The soil is still warm, giving the roots plenty of opportunity to get established. Any perennial can be planted now--regardless of its bloom time--but consider some of the late bloomers that make fall gardens so lovely.
Sedums are great perennials. The best of them is 'Autumn Joy.' Few plants deliver so much, so faithfully every fall with so little care. The flowers open pale pink and eventually turn to brick red. They look great--even in winter--poking up through the snow. 'Autumn Joy' Sedum is also a popular plant with bees.
The asters make a big fall show and they're also an important late food source for bees and butterflies. They just love asters. Asters can be tall or short--depending on the variety or species--and the vibrant flowers can range from purple and lavender to pale pink, bright pink, white and wine red. The white wood aster (Aster divarcatus) prefers shade--unlike other asters--and is a valuable addition to the shade garden late in the season.
Goldenrods are also members of the aster family. They're lovely, graceful perennials that are unfairly blamed for late-season allergies. Goldenrods are not causing your sniffling and sneezing; the pollen from inconspicuous weeds such as ragweed is the culprit.
Anaphalis margaritacea is a charming little perennial that we call pearly everlasting. It's similar to the strawflowers. This time of year its gray foliage is smothered in small white flowers. They can be picked, dried and used in dried flower arrangements.
Other great late bloomers include Japanese anemone, obedient plant (Physostegia), ornamental grasses and black-eyed Susans.
Get out and plant some perennials. I can't remember ever having so many butterflies and bees in my garden as in the past few weeks. Fill your garden with late bloomers and you'll have them too.