September Bloom Day: Not Quite Fall

September is a transitional month. Summer fades away as fall creeps in. Let’s see what’s in bloom at the mid-point of this ninth month of the year.


Don’t tell me you’re tired of Mexican Sunflower (Tithonia rotundifolia) and Monarch Butterflies. If you do, I’ll ignore you.


The jolly orange giant is still robust. I deadhead the flowers zealously. Occasionally a stem breaks off, but more grow back.


It’s grown unusually tall this year.


The Mexican Sunflower seems to dominate the ‘Gateway’ Joe Pye Weed (Eutrochium maculatum), not an easy thing to do.


September is the month of the Susans. Here is a view of the house from the street.


There is Brown-Eyed Susan (Rudbeckia triloba), which I wrote about recently.


And Black-Eyed Susan or Orange Coneflower (R. fulgida).

First bloom of the year on Short’s Aster.

It’s not really fall because so many of the asters are not yet in bloom. There are a couple of early risers among Short’s Aster (Symphyotrichum shortii), Aromatic Aster (S. oblongifolius) ย and New England Aster (S. novae-angliae), but the vast majority of buds are shut tight.

Big Leaf Aster blooms earlier in the season.

A few Asters are in full bloom, such as Big Leaf Aster (Eurybia macrophyllla) but these are not the stars of the Aster clan.


The Goldenrods (Solidago sp.), however, are fully awake. Looking best right now is Anise-Scented Goldenrod (S. odora), a compact plant that grows in sun or part shade. I’m told this Goldenrod makes a particularly nice tea, but I’ve never tried it.

2012-09-15 bluestem over stone true
Blue Stem Goldenrod (Solidago caesia)

There seems to be a lot less Blue-Stem Goldenrod around – perhaps it has been partly overshadowed by larger neighbors.


In the back garden there is a lot of Zigzag Goldenrod (S. flexicaulis), an aggressive spreader that likes shade.


The ‘Matrona’ Sedum (S. telephium) is still looking good.


I think it goes really well with Calamint (Calamintha nepeta) and its tiny white flowers.


Both ‘Matrona’ and the Calamint are covered with bees.


The Plumbago (Ceratostigma plumbaginoides) is becoming more and more floriferous. I love that blue.


The roses are getting a second wind. ‘Darlow’s Enigma’ is sporting big bouquets of fragrant little white flowers.


This isn’t a very good picture, but here’s our ‘Darlow’s Enigma’ growing up the arbor in the back garden. Most of the flowers are up at the top.


‘Sally Holmes’ is contributing a few small trusses as well.


Let’s close with a picture of a new resident of the shady back garden: Toad Lily (Tricyrtis formosana). I planted just a couple of these, but I’m looking forward to bigger clumps and more flowers next year.

Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day is hosted by Carol at May Dreams Gardens. Follow the link to see more gorgeous flowers than you can shake a stick at.

53 Comments on “September Bloom Day: Not Quite Fall”

  1. I love tithonia and monarchs! There couldn’t possibly be too many. While interviewing a monacrch advocate this week, I heard only 10% or less of monarch eggs become adults, maninly because of other insects that eat or parasitize the larvae. She collects the eggs as soon as she finds them on her milkweed and then hand-raises the caterpillars in a mesh box on her screen porch. She has about an 80% success rate.

  2. That toad lily is lovely! I am really enjoying the tithonia’s in my garden as well – lots of bee visitors but haven’t seen any butterflies on it yet. I have a lot of goldenrod too, but in my case, it’s the “common” variety that’s considered a weed around here.

  3. I would never tire of Tithonia. It is such an exuberant plant and so tall. I like tall in the garden. If I had more sun I would grow lots of it. I might try again next year. A friend of mine has it and it grew unusually tall this year too. It must have been all the dry hot weather. I also like the blue of that plumbago. I have tried growing it here too. Need to try that again I see. Happy GBBD.

  4. I never get tired of seeing Monarchs or your Tithonia! As I mentioned on your Facebook post, I somehow missed the info on how tall this plant would get. I had a few seedlings I started indoors and ran out of space for them, so I planted them in a pot–not the best idea:) Calamint is on my wish list for next year; we saw a large planting of these at the Olbrich in Madison, and they were simply covered in bees!

  5. Your not “very good picture” is charming — a peek through the garden arch.
    My tithonia is tall like yours and has had Monarchs visit too. hooray!
    The plumbago is gorgeous, I spied some struggling under a Japanese maple, vying with liriope in my daughter’s garden the other day. I’m going to grab some for my own garden.

  6. Lots of beautiful blooms!

    I *really* need to try growing Tithonia again. (I direct sowed seeds a while back, but had zero germination. Or maybe I weeded out the seedlings accidentally?)

    I’ve got one Solidago odora, but I think it’s in too much shade. Don’t anticipate any bloom this year.

    On the other hand, my S. caesia is in too much sun and gets baked to a crisp.

    I think I’m going to swap the two plants around this autumn!

  7. There is something so exciting to me about the flowers of late summer. It means cooler temps are on the way and the breezes will be back. You are right I could never tire of Sunflowers and Monarchs. Your garden is so beautiful in the light of this time of year!

  8. Wow. how could we be tired of lovely Tithonia? Specially when it sports such a magnificent butterfly as a matching accessory. Good old Sally Holmes, she just goes on and on blooming all summer . I am envious of your gorgeous Cerotostigma, mine is really economical with its flowers.

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