Extending the Season of Flowers

The Chrysanthemum ‘Brandywine Sunset’, is a lovely shade of peachy coral.

By Maria Price

I love it when the weather cools and crisp, sunny days abound. What I don’t enjoy are the waning summer flowers in my gardens, so I like to extend the season with as many late bloomers as possible. 

Now that we are into November, I’d like to share some of my favorite annuals that continue to bloom until frost. I consider myself a late bloomer as well and like to be surprised by these late beauties.

The jewels of autumn are my dahlias. Their colors intensify with the cooler nights and their recent popularity has led to the creation of more varieties and colors. From the softest shades of pink and peach to vibrant reds, they are loved for their longevity as a cut flower.

My cuphea ‘Vermillionaire’ is still blooming even though the hummingbirds have left. Calibrachoa, which comes in a multitude of colors, will bloom until frost as will nasturtiums, in shades of peach and orange against the backdrop of autumn trees. My white morning glory or moonflower and my ‘Heavenly Blue’ morning glory, also continue to bloom. My cut flower ageratum, with its tall stems, is a vivid purple and full of flowers in November. 

For perennials, the dark blue salvia known as ‘Black and Blue’ becomes even darker blue. Monkshood, a beautiful, but poisonous, perennial, is 3 feet tall with deep blue flowers. It’s best not to use it in any arrangement due to its highly toxic nature. If you do use it, make sure to wear gloves—it’s always the cause of death in English murder mysteries.

Our native asters are nearly finished, but the Tatarian aster blooms after them and can grow to 3 to 4 feet tall. Our fall-blooming camellias come in shades of pink, white and red. The true tea plant Camellia sinensis is in bloom with small white flowers.

Chrysanthemums are our most popular fall flowers, but most of the ones sold commercially are best used as annuals, and most have faded by now. I prefer to plant true perennial mums which bloom late. One of my favorites is ‘Sheffield Pink’, which is a soft, peachy pink. My newest addition is ‘Brandywine Sunset’, a lovely shade of peachy coral (pictured above).