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Proctor's Garden: Save what plants you can before the freeze

While you bring some plants inside, there are some late bloomers that can help make the fall garden a delight.

DENVER COUNTY, Colo. — While I'm busy hauling tropical plants inside to save them over winter, the garden still continues to bloom with abandon. Late bloomers help make the fall garden a delight.

Seed-grown 'Majorette' hollyhocks are so pretty in multiple colors on relatively short stems. Order seed this winter and sow them indoors in late winter, then plant them outside in May.

New England asters are blooming in lovely shades of pink and purple. They are absolutely carefree and provide an important late food source for bees. I think every hive for miles around has made a beeline for my asters.

Goldenrods are terribly misunderstood. They bloom at the same time as inconspicuous allergy-causing weeds. So the goldenrods get the blame for sniffling. Goldenrod flowers have sticky, relatively heavy pollen that isn't picked up by wind. The pollen is intended for bees and butterflies. The variety 'Crown of Rays' is particularly graceful. It's also carefree and long-lived.

Credit: alatielin - stock.adobe.com
Solidago canadensis. Canadian goldenrod.

Colchicums are native to high European meadows. These bulbs bloom without leaves in fall. The leaves emerge in spring and fade away by summer. The pink or white colchicum flowers may be single or double and bloom at ground level. The bulbs are planted in fall. Check with your garden center for availability.

Lion's ear (Leonotis leonurus) is a South African shrub that I grow in pots since it isn't hardy here. Whorls of orange flowers top the stems. The flowers look and feel like felt. My plants bloomed quite late this year. As soon as they're finished, I'll cut them back and haul them to safety for winter.

Remember to save whatever plants you can. A sunny window is all you need. Concentrate on geraniums, spikes, begonias, coleus and other tropical perennials.

More Proctor's Garden:

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Pink hollyhock flower.

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