Bravo! The end of the blooming season is near, and quite a year it has been.
Spring started slow, but once flowers appeared cool temperatures kept them going longer. Though the late Summer was dry in the mid-Atlantic, we rarely experienced extreme heat, and the late season blooming crapemyrtles, hydrangeas, and perennials performed well. A superb year in all.
But wait, we’re not finished yet! The end of September is creeping up, and there are numerous flowers remaining in the garden. Coneflowers, Japanese anemones, toad lilies, sedums, and goldenrod are still in bud with several weeks of bloom to go. The remontant hydrangeas (those that bloom on new growth and rebloom such as Endless Summer and Penny Mac) rested through late July and August with only a few blossoms, but are heavily budded with the cooler weather of September and will bloom well into October. Knockout roses will often flower through mid November.
Encore Azaleas have been promoted in more southern climes as blooming through three seasons, but in more northern zones they dependably bloom only in Spring and then late Summer into October. Though they have pushed aside the “Spring blooming only” azaleas on garden center shelves, many people are still surprised to see azaleas blooming in the garden in October.
In my garden, a handful of varieties that have bloomed without fail for years are heavily budded and just beginning to show color, which will last for a month or more. The photos here were taken October 14, 2008, and the azaleas continued to bloom into the second week of November when extreme cold moved in, more than six weeks of flowering last Fall.
There are more than twenty varieties of Encore azaleas, but I’ve had best success in Fall blooming with a handful, and have found that flowering is enhanced by more sun, though not full sun.
The best performing in my garden are Autumn Amethyst, Autumn Empress, Autumn Princess, Autumn Rouge, Autumn Royalty, and Autumn Twist (my personal favorite with bicolor blooms). Even when I forgot to spray Twist last Winter and deer nipped the branch tips it grew strongly and bloomed late in the Spring on new growth.
I’m looking forward to an Encore performance this Fall.