Fall color…how beautiful! Gardening at this time of year is so rewarding. Such bounty and blessings along with the satisfaction of knowing the plants have served us well and now it’s time to start putting them to bed for a long winter rest. As the temperatures cool, I think of warm fires both inside and out. Have you ever thought about the colors in fall blooming plants being the colors of fire? They seem to assure us of a fire’s warmth in the cold months to come; reds, oranges and golds.
There is an area in my gardens that I call the Upper Garden. I have purposely planted as many red blooming plants there as possible. Most of them bloom all at once in celebration of the “fire of fall”.
Pineapple sage…well named for its wonderful pineapple aroma. When the sun warms the leaves at midday, one squish and you might think someone opened a can of pineapple tidbits. Butterflies love to feed on the bright red blooms. Yesterday there was a large group of yellow Sulphurs doing their fancy butterfly dance among red spires of bloom. The leaves can be used in desserts for flavoring and blooms are edible as well, making a beautiful garnish for salads. The 3-4 ft. tall plants like partial shade, lots of water, and well-drained soil
Salvia greggii…known as Autumn sage is perennial in the south, zones 7-9. This woody plant is a gardeners dream being tolerant to most any problem; bugs, drought, deer, and poor soil. It is easy to propagate from stem cuttings and blooms all summer here in Texas. It can be found in colors from raspberry to red, yellow and white. A constant bloomer, this sage is a great nectar supply for hummingbirds. The leaves and stems carry a sage scent.
It grows from a large shrub shape into a small tree if allowed; and responding well to pruning but you may lose some bloom the year of pruning. Sasanqua is so beautiful from fall into winter, blooming a large single petal flower found in pink, white and red. I love the shiny evergreen leaves during the dullness of winter. Maybe soon I can add a red bloomer to the upper garden.
Mexican Cosmos...the only name I have for this plant. I bought my first sample at a nursery a few years ago. Like common cosmos, this fall blooming show stopper grows to almost six feet! It must produce an abundance of seed but each spring there are only a few plants. I'll start my own in pots next year. The lavender Mexican Bush Sage (shown here in the foreground) is a great contrast for planting and cutting.
Enjoy the beauty of Fall, the fiery colors, and the opportunity to enjoy them both inside and out. I'll be happy to share more information on any of these plants.