After a spring and summer filled with colourful blooms in the landscape, fall arrives and many gardeners give up on flowers providing their rainbow of hues. There are, however, many flowering shrubs, annuals and perennials that gladly supply the yard with continuing colour until a hard frost slows the plant to winter dormancy. Some require a shearing of the waning flowers and beginning seedpods in July and August to bloom a second time in fall, while others need cutting back prior to blooming at all, thus delaying the initial flowering. Others, simply thrive to bloom late with no help at all.
Anemone japonica grows 2 to 4 feet tall and wide, sporting delicate, finely cut leaves. The graceful erect stems explode in 3-inch blossoms from September through late frost. Two white varieties are 'Coupe d'Argent' and 'Whirlwind.' For a strong flower show in autumn in a pink hue, plant the anemone 'Alice.'
Tall sedum provides garden interest year round. In spring, green rosettes form at soil level, summer brings tall fleshy stalks with green broccoli-shaped flower buds and, finally, in fall they burst into colour. 'Autumn Joy' is one of the most popular varieties, with clusters of rose blooms. 'Brilliant' offers bright pink flowers, while 'Stardust' shines in a frosty pink. All come into bloom in summer and last until late frost. If the flower buds are cut back in early summer, they will bloom later and be bushier with more prolific flower heads.
Scotch heather (Calluna vulgaris) is an evergreen shrub available in a dwarf size of 2 inch to 3 feet tall varieties and with bloom times of summer to late fall. 'Goldsworth Crimson' matures at 2 feet, has dark green foliage, and flowers in crimson in October and November. 'Roma' grows to only 9 inches and shows deep pink blossoms from August through October. For white flowers in October, plant 'Searlei,' which grows to a bushy 18 inches.
Many annual flowers continue growing and blooming right through early frost as long as their old flowers are snipped off and not allowed to go to seed. This is known as deadheading. Some summer flowers can be sacrificed by shearing off flowers and buds as well as spent flowers, and the colourful show will continue in strong fashion well into October. Sweet alyssum (Lobularia) is one annual that does not need deadheading and just won't stop its mass of white blossoms until a late hard frost.
Chrysanthemums (Asteraceae compositae) are available in over 150 species and in many colours and sizes. Sunny yellow is particularly welcome in the fall and the variety 'Amazing' provides it on large double October blooms. For a pink spider mum, plant 'Pink Pagoda.' An October chrysanthemum in creamy white is 'Autumn Bride,' blooming until late frost. With mums, the biggest problem will be finding garden space for all the autumn blooming varieties.