Autumn Encore

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.P1011899

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.P1010727

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. P1010729

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.P1010731

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.  P1010730

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.

For further information

See the Encore Azalea website for photos and information about all varieties, and check out their digital magazine for additional photos and cultural information.

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One thought on “Autumn Encore

  1. My daughter and her family live in South Riding and come to your nursery. I love the plants they buy and I always envy that they have such a wonderful nursery so close with such beautiful healthy plants and for such reasonable prices. I only wish you had a location in Smithfield, VA where we live. Maybe I just need to move up where you are located. Now if only the housing market would turn around that would be a possibility. Looking forward to coming to visit your establishment on our nest trip up north. Kay Donley

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