When I was living in Seattle, autumn felt like a bit of a death.
Despite the fact that so much stays green year round in the Pacific Northwest, all of that emerald is shrouded in a dome of grey for many months, starting in fall with the autumn rains.
Minnesota is a different story. Autumn—especially the long, late one we’ve just had—brings so much joy!
I think my favorite aspect might be the lack of mosquitoes—FINALLY—but also the crisp, dry mornings, sunny, warmish days, excellent fall color and a quality of late-day light that turned all my long-blooming plants into sublime works of art.
Here are the plants from my yard that started blooming in summer and haven’t quit, despite chilly nights! (I really need to plant more dahlias and roses next year.)
I have about a dozen ‘Nearly Wild’ roses (planted by the previous owners), and they’ve bloomed continuously with very little care.
Zahara Sunburst zinnias: Happy as clams from June through October, with very little watering.
Dead nettle: How pretty and vibrant!
Our long-running harvest of hot peppers included lovely varieties known as Fish (red and highly recommended just for its variegated foliage) and Hinkelhatz (orange, German for chicken heart), which offers edible and ornamental value.
I titled this Myrtles Folly dahlia arrangement “Cupcake!” When life gives you spindly fall stems, make cupcakes.
Here’s my last bouquet of the season, Myrtles Folly again.
Oh, how I wish my Flower Carpet roses, such as this Scarlet variety, were hardy in Zone 4. (Maybe they’ll make it if I mulch them!)
Surefire begonias from Proven Winners, including this Rose variety, completely lived up to their name in my yard, blooming wonderfully from June to frost—which was Oct. 22 this year.
Karma Lagoon dahlia also bloomed all the way until …
What are your favorite long-bloomers?
Sarah Dorison is the managing editor of Gardening How-To magazine. She gardens in Minneapolis, Minnesota.