KUSA - Late summer should be a colorful time on your patio and in your garden. If your outdoor living areas are somewhat lackluster, add some seasonal plants.
The new coneflowers make an exciting addition to beds and borders. Just introduced, these new versions of the classic purple coneflower (Echinacea) really command attention. The "cone" in the center of the flower has been replaced by myriad tiny petals, giving the flower a unique look. Pink 'Southern Belle,' white 'Milkshake' and dwarf pink 'Piccolo' thrive in sunny conditions and bloom from midsummer into fall.
Black-eyed Susans (Rudbeckia) compete with the coneflowers as the brightest stars of the late summer garden. Bright gold 'Tiger Eye Gold," burgundy red 'Cherry Brandy' and lemon yellow 'Prairie Sun' are three of the best. These plants do best in moist, sunny conditions and will keep blooming for months if they are fertilized with a bloom booster and dead-headed. Black-eyed Susans may be grown in pots or in the ground. Though grown as an annual, the plants will often live through the winter.
A new tickseed (Coreopsis) that makes a great filler for pots or beds is called 'Jive.' The plants grow about a foot tall and bear cream white flowers with a deep maroon center. Whether or not it will survive the winter is anybody's guess; I suspect not.
Other showy seasonal plants for pots and beds include ornamental kale, pansies, dwarf cosmos, grasses, snapdragons and ornamental peppers. Planted now, they will grow and increase in beauty as fall arrives.
The most spectacular plant on my patio at the moment is angel trumpet (Brugsmansia). This small tropical tree produces very large pendant flowers shaped like trumpets. Varieties may be white, cream, pale apricot, peach or yellow. They are deliciously scented at night. Potted specimens may grow to be six feet or more and can be wintered inside in a sunny window where they will often produce flowers throughout the winter. They are very long-lived if cared for properly, which means plenty of sun, moisture and fertilizer. They are well worth the trouble.
New plants shown in this segment are courtesy of Tagawa Gardens.
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