Fall-blooming anemones will form a handsome 12" tall ground cover in light to partial shade in moist, humus-rich soil, and will tolerate full morning sun with sufficient moisture. They do not like wet feet. Mulch for the first winter. A hard frost will darken the foliage, which can either be removed or left for protection. Anemones are heirloom plants with a natural or wild-looking appearance that compliments shrubs such as rhododendrons & hydrangeas. Monkshood, baneberry, snakeroot, and hardy geraniums are excellent companions. Hostas, ferns, and ornamental grasses combine well with anemone foliage in summer.
Toad lilly, an easy-care perennial, offers intricate, orchid-like flowers from late summer to mid-fall. It grows in shade and moist, well-drained soil to 3 feet tall and 2 feet wide. Plants grow from underground rhizomes that form a colony over time. It is best to bury new shoots about 5 to 6" below the soil to help keep them cool and moist in summer and protect them over the winter. Divide in spring. The blooms are best appreciated close up, so plant them along a path or make sure there is a diversion to lead you to them. Combine them with hostas, ferns, Actaea, and Aconitum.
False aster produces showy panicles of lavender flower heads in abundance from late summer into the fall for about 1 month. Grow in partial or full sun, wet to moist conditions, and a fertile loamy soil. The lovely light blue color goes well with other plants blooming at this time, including bright-colored mums.
The sedums are spectacular in fall, whether taller blooming or lower-growing foliage plants.
Asters look great with ornamental grasses and the changing colors of fall trees. They perform best in rich, evenly moist soil in full sun, but will also bloom well in partial shade. If pinched back in mid-July, the plants will be heavier blooming and probably will not need staking. This one will cover itself with hundreds of daisy-like deep blue flowers if you remove spent flowering stalks. The healthy dark green foliage has a compact mounding habit and is very resistant to mildew, but plenty of space to grow helps prevent mildew. Side dress aster plants each fall with a light dressing of compost or similar organic fertilizer.
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