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Posts Tagged ‘October blooming flowers’

Here we are in the last week of August, many of us and our children are getting ready to go back to school. The garden often is neglect now because we are busy with othr things occupying our time. late summer is a time of changing palettes in the garden, from the spring and early summer colors to the richer and often nuanced tones. One plant which is ever changing in color is one of the stars of the garden right now,that plant is the known ‘Autumn Joy’ Sedum(Sedum xAutumn Joy‘).

Sedum 'Autumn joy' is an ever changing palette of colors.

Sedum x 'Autumn joy' is an ever changing palette of colors.

‘Autumn Joy’ Sedum is one of the more common plants you will see in gardens  because it is very useful and easily propagated. It is a cross of two closely related species; telephium from Europe and spectabile (which supplied the pollen) which originates in China and Korea. These two species and several other similar more woody type, large leaved Sedums are now reclassified as the species Hylotelephium.

Sedum 'Autumn Joy' with its massive flower heads reday to burst open at Finnerty Gardens.

Sedum 'Autumn Joy' with its massive flower heads reday to burst open at Finnerty Gardens.

The meeting of telephium and spectabile occured at Georg Arrends(1863-1952) nursery at Wuppertal Germany near Cologne. Arrends was one of the formost perennial plant breeders of all time. He  introduced many new improved Bergenias, Asters, Campanulas and especially Astilbes. Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ was originally called ‘Herbstfreude’ and it can be argued it is probably Arrends most popular and well known introduction of all. It was likely to have been presented to the garden trade in the late 1940s or early 1950s. It is hard to find a public garden which does not include these plants and from there many home gardens grow it as well.

The same border at Finnerty Gardens with 'Autumn Joy' Sedum in bloom.

The same border at Finnerty Gardens with 'Autumn Joy' Sedum in bloom.

The cross of telephium and spectabile into Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ brought the best of the parents together. It improved the flower color by intensifying it, it also improved the overall flower head which is now massive. The othe improvement was in making the stems more strong and less likely to flop. These are all characteristics which endear this plant to many professional gardeners who love it for its long season of bloom and overall beauty throughout the year. The color palette and texture of the plant is also easily incorporated into many garden designs.

In spring the beautiful jade green leaves of 'Autunm Joy' sedum is an attractive addition to the garden.

In spring the beautiful jade green leaves of 'Autunm Joy' sedum is an attractive addition to the garden.

Many of the reasons Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ is used so much is its incredible versatility in where it can be planted and how it is used in the garden. This plant takes any kind of soil but prefers leaner, light sandy soil. Give it slightly less than an average amount of water, this will keep the stems more firm and the plant more compact.. The one thing they do not like is being in excessively wet soil for a long time as this causes rot. Full sun is the best although it tolerates light shade especially in very dry, hot climates. If the flower heads start getting smaller it is probably is time to divide the plant and this can be done at any time of the year easily, dig it up and pull it apart.If you want to keep the blooms divide in the spring or fall. Cuttings are also very easy to take and root.

Here Sedum 'autumn Joy' is seen in a border with Echinacea, Verbena, blue Lobelia and frothy Gaura in the corner.

Here Sedum 'autumn Joy' is seen in a border with Echinacea, Verbena, blue Lobelia and frothy Gaura in the corner.

‘Autumn Joy’ Sedum can be used for late summer color in sunny borders, perennial borders, as specimens or accents and for mass plantings. It also works very well in seasonal containers for patio or other places for a long lasting show of color. Sedums naturally look good with grasses, Rudbeckias, Asters and other later season plants. The flowers blend in nicely and the leaves have a cooling effect in the garden. As the flowers age their color deepens. Often these plants are left standing in the garden in the winter as the spent flowers stand up well to rains and even snow and the rustic shade of the spent plant is seen as attractive.

This clump of Sedum 'Autumn Joy is in a long border in Sidney which has Miscanthus, Rudbeckia, Lavenders and Asters.

This clump of Sedum 'Autumn Joy is in a long border in Sidney which has Miscanthus, Rudbeckia, Lavenders and Asters.

‘Autumn Joy’ Sedum grows in zones 3 through 10 (-40c and f). This is a compact plant growing no more than 60cm(2ft.) high and by the same wide. These are fairly long lived plants and will give you pleasure many years.  They make good cut flowers and are long lasting, they also are excellent in dried arrangements. They are a good source of honey for butterflies and bees late in the year.

More Joyous Links for Autumn:

How to grow this plant: http://www.perennials.com/seeplant.html?item=1.485.340

From Dave’s Garden many people give their opions on growing this plant: http://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/go/51498/

A thorough article on the species Hylotelephium:   http://davesgarden.com/guides/articles/view/2619/

Check out my post relating to Georg Arrends and Astilbes: https://namethatplant.wordpress.com/2009/07/06/my-fine-feathered-friends-are-atilbes/

Hope to see you here again soon….

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I have been fortunate to have worked at some very good nurseries which have had great plants which they sold. Trees and shrubs and perennials which cover a vast swath of species, varieties and hybrids. Most of them have traveled from other continents to grow here.  One area that has been especially good to us is Asia and these plants usually grow very well. Many Asian plants we know for being splashy and showy, but I am often drawn to the more delicate and intricate in design. One species of plants are Tricyrtis (Toad Lilies)which are a quite most of the year; and then Whizzz-bang…. they go off like fireworks!

The small intricate flower of Tricyrtis formosana hybrids are commonly seen here.

The small intricate flower of Tricyrtis formosana hybrids are commonly seen here.

There are said to be 18 species of Tricyrtis which have crossed to create a group of  hybrid plants which are usually mislabeled in the trade. I know that in Japan these plants have been crossed for centuries  and then were ‘found’ and brought into the garden world in the 19th century by plant explorers who were sending plants back from Asia. Each species has lent something to the mix. Some Toad Lilies species have arching stems and have their blossoms along the axils of its leaves and others are more traditional in that the flowers are on the tops of leafy stems.

An attractive swath of Toad Lilies cutting through a shady boarder.

An attractive swath of Toad Lilies cutting through a shady boarder.

Tricyrtis grow from tropical  Philippine Island through into Nepal and then east across China and Korea into Japan. Here we generally only see the hardier varieties  such as formosana, hirta, affinis and latifolia and their many hybrids.  This means that the Toad Lilies are highly variable in their spotting and where on the plant the flowers are located.

This Trycrytis hybrid has it's flowers on the top of it's stems.

This Trycrytis hybrid has it's flowers on the top of it's stems.

Tricrytis have been so successful at hybridizing because they set  easily handled  fertile seed. Germinating it is relatively easy: sow the seeds warm under a thin coating of  moisture retentive soil and keep it there 5 to 6 weeks. Alternate the seed mixture into cold for up to 8 weeks, and then back to warm conditions until there is germination. This germination cycle is very common and basically follows nature, so it is possible to do the whole process outside as long as it does not freeze which will kill seeds. Once the plants are big enough to handle set them in seperate containers or where you want them to grow.

Toad Lily foliage is noticibly hairy along the margins and sometimes mottled.

Toad Lily foliage is noticibly hairy along the margins and sometimes mottled.

Now we know Toad Lilies are easy to germinate, it is good to know they are extremely easy to grow in the garden. Being woodland plants means Tricyrtis like  a shady position with dappled light. they require leafy nutrient rich soil which is moisture retentive which drains well.  They like their site be be well watered throughout the growing season.  These plants are stoloniferous and can easily be divided and moved around at any time as long as they are well watered after the transplanting is done.

Tricyris produce vigorous clumps which can easily be divided.

Tricyris produce vigorous clumps which can easily be divided.

Tricyris species can be used in several ways, as a specimen, in shady borders, naturalized and mass planted. Be sure to place them somewhere where the flowers are easily observed as they are small and delicately spotted and colored.   In colder areas it is advisable to plant them where they will get more sun and bloom earlier. They take -15c(-0 f) or zone 5 through 9.

It is easy to see why people are facinated by the spotted Toad Lily flowers.

It is easy to see why people are facinated by the spotted Toad Lily flowers.

More about Tricyrtis plants:

Tricyrtis formosana: http://www.mobot.org/gardinghelp/plantfinder/Plant.asp?code=A780

National Collection of Tricyrtis: http://www.nccpg.com/gloucestershire/tricyrtis.html

Until we meet again later…..

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