Reprising that late autumn stroll around campus in my own garden today, I ventured out into the mist with the camera to hunt up the mainstays of November, or the last of the (plant) Mohicans. Though this fall has been colder than last year (see last year’s Thanksgiving post here), a humble crop of cold-proof doers have stayed on for the final moments of the 2010 show. Take a look!
Aconitum columbianum ssp. columbianum–This rare aconite grows wild from Washington all the way east to Iowa and New York where relictual populations grow leftover from the period before the last glacial advance. In the garden they’re fall fabulous, blooming well into November on 16-18″ stems.
Callicarpa dichotoma–The fruit of beautyberries lasts long after yellowish fall-colored leaves drop. These fruity beads dripped with the day’s light rain, pearly and luminous.
Chrysanthemum x rubellum ‘Will’s Wonderful’–I learned about this raucous old mum from my Twitter friend Margaret Roach (a former Martha exec) this spring and promptly ordered it from Lazy S’S Farm. It’s a tad frosted now, but even withering in cold it looks just as charming as it did a few weeks ago. Though I’ve only grown it a few months, it’s already a favorite. Thanks Margaret.
Eryngium yuccifolium–The prairie-style rattlesnake master looks smashing in virtually four seasons. The remnants of white ball flowers from summer, tickling nearby blades of grass, will last into early winter–a reminder of a season months away.
Liatris aspera–Looking like the prom queen after a long night of smiling and dancing, these fading flowers still manage to blush lavender while puffy fros of cypselae blow away with each chilly gust.
Lysimachia clethroides–Even though I beat most of my gooseneck loosestrife back into a small, carefully contained clump near the house, I can’t help revel in its dripping red fall color. Insert cat call here.
Monarda bradburiana–I talk about this bee balm constantly and for good reason. Flowers and disease resistance aside, it looks smashing in fall, burnished in bronze and burgundy well past the first frost. Look at it all snuggled up against that goldenrod–the couple is asking for no gifts at their nuptials in case you were wondering.
Rudbeckia subtomentosa ‘Henry Eilers’–Another plant I crow about non-stop. But just look at it! These seedheads last until the end of January, the epitome of winter interest.
Schizachyrium scoparium–After sulking in the horticultural alleys for decades, little bluestem is finally getting its due. Bronze, red, orange, you name it–fall color is what this native does, and oh so well. On dark and cloudy days like today, these reedy stems just glow.
Yucca filamentosa ‘Variegata’–It’s no secret I love variegated plants (I’ve even kept a variegated weed or two around just for novelty and laughs). But this comely succulent, echelons above some lowly weed, does something more for me. It’s not just another variegated plant. It’s special.