Back to Back Issues Page
Late Blooming Perennials For Your Gardens
October 01, 2018

Hello October,

(Pictures from the yard this past week.)

It is time to give your feeders and water sources a good scrubbing and sanitizing.

If you haven't cleaned out nest boxes, get it done now.

We have had at least one Monarch a day this past week.

That isn't totally unusual, as there is always a late batch, or two that must go through the
whole process of becoming a butterfly.

A bonus week.

We also have been blessed with at least two very busy hummingbirds.

These are not our regulars, as the feeders are ignored, but the flowers offer a land of plenty.

There is a picture of two hummers sitting near each other (below).

Never in my life have I seen two hummers tolerate each other, so this picture is a rare site for me.

They sat like this for a couple of minutes.

Akita is still dealing with allergy issues.

Two more shots and a different pill $$.

This week I begin to slowly work on fall clean up as needed,

Not just the yard and gardens, but wonderful chores like cleaning out the gutters on the house.

Life is good.

With the turning of the calendar page from August to September, many gardeners simple stop gardening.

Turn from September to October, and what is left?

I know many of you are avid gardeners and true lovers of nature, just as I am.

You may think it is time to cut back, pull out and start digging.

Not so.

Here in Southwest Michigan, many of my annuals are just now peaking.

A warm and sometime hot summer, my ability to water freely (Nature didn't cooperate much this year), a little care and things still look great.

All of the pollinators sure think so, as they have graced my yard throughout the growing season.

Even if your annuals are puking out, or your mind has switched to fall colors and pumpkins, there are many late season perennials (native and introduced), to provide a great late season splash of color.

Even after a killing frost.


In late summer and early fall, mums and asters become the anchors of many gardens.

Blooming season starts later here in Michigan and most northern latitudes, please bare with me if your plants are done blossoming already.

Jerusalem artichoke  (Helianthus tuberosus)

Herbaceous perennial

Attractive yellow flowers from August thru October. 

Sun to part shade, best with constant medium moisture, will tolerate dry conditions, however plants will be shorter.

Plants can grow 6-10 ft.

Zone: 3-9

Best planted as a naturalized plant, as it tends to be invasive.

This is the first year I have grown these plants, I have them in large containers.

Attractive, and a great season source for pollinators. 

Roots are edible. thus the name artichoke, sunchoke or sunroot.

Native throughout much of Canada and USA

Maximilian sunflower (Helianthus maximiliani)

Herbaceous perennial

Attractive yellow flowers from September - October 

Full sun for best results, my Maximilian sunflower is so loaded this year, the stalks are bent and contorted.

Grows 4-10 ft  and slowly spreads into a large clump.

Another late season plant for pollinators.

Native to most of North America.

Actaea  (Cimicifuga , Bugbane)

Herbaceous perennial

My plants bloom September thru the first half of October.

Stalks appear with small, attractive, white flowers, attracting many pollinators.

Different cultivars may have green to a dark burgundy colored foliage, flowering spikes will grow 4 - 6 feet

Best planted in full shade (to part shade). 

Medium watering required.

Native to the Eastern one third of North America.

Chocolate Eupatoreum  (Ageratinaaltissima'Chocolate')

Also called Snakeroot.

Herbaceous perennial

Chocolate leaves and shiny, deep purple stems make a wonderful contrast to explosions of white flowers in September and October.

Grows best in partial shade.

Medium to moist soil, low maintenance.

Another attractive, late season bloomer for your yard and pollinators. 

Also makes a nice cut flower.

Native to the Eastern one half of North America.

Turtlehead (Chelone obliqua)

Herbaceous perennial

Blooms are, Rosy purple, pink, or white. Plant flowers from July into October

Full sun to part shade (mine is in part shade). 

Grows to 3 feet tall and spreads into a healthy clump, give it room to spread.

Prefers medium to wet soil, does well near a pond or rain garden.

Zone: 4/5 - 9

Native to the eastern half of North America.

Non native bloomers

Anemone × hybrida'September Charm' (Japanese anemone)

I just call it September Charm. 

Herbaceous perennial

Blooms from August, well into October.

Attractive pink flowers bob in the wind, not only adding color, but some movement.

Hardy from zones 4 - 8.

Full sun to part shade (I have both). 

Grows 2 - 4 feet and just as wide.

Japanese Anemones come in several different cultivars.

I try to go native, but some introduced species add color, form, flowers, and scent to any garden.

Another introduce species is.... 

Russian sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia).

Native to the Himalayas, and western China.

The lavender/blue flowers can bloom freely from July - October.

Hardy in Zones 4/5 - 9.

Full sun to partial shade.

Dry to medium water requirements.

Can grow to 5 feet tall and spread to around 4 feet.

There are a few different types of sage to choose from.

(Native Asters)

There are many other fall blooming perennials to choose from, native and introduced.

Japanese toad lily (Tricyrtis hirta), no explanation required.

Native to Texas, but introduced to much of America as a perennial or annual is 'Autumn Sage' ( Salvia greggii). Some cultivars are now hardy to Zone 5. 

I have had minimal success in my gardens, but looking to try again.

Sneezeweed  (Helenium autumnale).

Native to North America,  yellow flowers bloom August - October .

There are several other cultivars/species that have a limited native range that have been introduced to our gardens.

Gaillardia cultivars, Coreopsis cultivars, several varieties of  Rudbeckia, like 'Prairies skies', 'Indian summer', and 'Cherokee sunset'.

(Garden Phlox.)

I typically have a few phlox blooming this time of year.

A hibiscus of two may also show off a flower for me.

You see, Autumn doesn't have to be a bland, or boring season in your gardens.

Well, it is time to fly for now.

Before I go, here is your positive words for the week.

God Bless.

“My motto was to keep swinging. Whether I was in a slump or feeling badly or having trouble off the field, the only thing to do was to keep swinging.”

Hank Aaron, 'Hall Of Fame' Baseball Player

Keep fighting, keep battling is what Mr. Aaron is referring to.

Eventually you will battle your way out of the slump, if you don't give up.

Life isn't easy.

"So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand".

Isaiah 41:10

"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future".

Jeremiah 29:11

Jesus looked at them and said,“With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.”

Mark 10:27

To this I say 'Amen'.

"Treat the earth well:

It was not given to you by your parents,

It was loaned to you by your children.

We do not inherit the Earth from our ancestors,

We borrow it from our Children."

Ancient Indian Proverb.

A Blessed week to you .

Your friend indeed,

Ron Patterson

PS. If you enjoy these letters, please forward them to friends, family and co-workers.

Better yet, have them sign up so they can receive their own letters.

Gardening For Wildlife.

Back to Back Issues Page