November 4, 2010
Venus mums
Photo by Jessica Walliser
Venus mums are a beautiful and hardy addition to my fall garden.

I can’t believe how many things I still have blooming in the garden—the most beautiful of which are my Venus mums.

These are not the hardy mums you find at the nursery each autumn (which are never actually “hardy” in my garden, so I’m not sure how they managed to earn the name) but rather they are true perennial mums. And they are tough. Mine have bloomed every year all the way up to Thanksgiving through several frosts and even sometimes beyond.  One year, I made a bouquet of them on Christmas Eve.  Now that is one stalwart plant!

Venus mums have beautiful, soft-pink petals with bright-yellow centers, and each blossom measures a good inch and a half across. The plant is loaded with flowers even though I picked some for my son’s preschool teacher. (It’s never too early to brown-nose, is it?) It looks terrific next to the Purple Dome asters that finished blooming last week.

Black-eyed Susan
Photo by Jessica Walliser
This unique black-eyed Susan is one of my favorite new flowers … if only I could remember the cultivar.

Another stand-out late-season bloomer this year is my toad lily. I got a division of this plantfrom a friend several years ago, so I don’t know the variety. They’re lavender with purple splotches and stand nearly 4 feet tall! The flowers are just starting to drop off so I may only have them for another week. 

And, last but not least, one of my favorite new plants is still cranking it out: A friend gave me a curious black-eyed Susan this spring. It has bright-yellow petals that resemble miniature spoons and a rich, brown center. The plant is almost 5 feet tall, and its flowers have lasted for several months. I just love it.  I swore I would remember the cultivar, but of course, I’ve forgotten. That’s what I get for not writing it down immediately. Someday I’ll do a little research to figure it out, but for now I’m just going to enjoy it while I can.  

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