The Big Show Has Ended, but Some Color Lingers On

The big show has almost ended, but some colorful leaves, stems, seeds, and flowers linger  on.

Part 1 Herbaceous plants and grasses.

The clusters of lavender-blue daisy flowers of Smooth Blue Aster (Aster laevis) are still in bloom.  It grows 2-4′ tall, blooming from September through early November.

The Heath Aster (Aster ericoides), so-called because its tiny narrow leaves resemble that of Heath is re-blooming.  Its tiny white daisies form elongated clusters of blossoms, in bloom from  mid-September through early November.  The compact plant  grows to 2 1/2′ tall and around and likes a well-drained, sunny situation.

The seed heads of Mountain Mint (Pycnanthemum virginianum) are notable.   The clusters of little white button flowers bloom at the top of 3′ stems  in July and early August in mesic and wet-mesic prairies.  The foliage, not the flowers, is aromatic.

The seed spikes of Culver’s Root (Veronicastrum virginicum) make exclamation points in the landscape in fall and winter.  Elegant in all seasons, the white-flowered spikes bloom at the top of 2-6′ stems in July and August.

The foliage of  Tall Coreopsis (Coreopsis tripteris) has turned to wine.  Clusters of yellow daisies top the 6-8′ stems in bloom from mid-July through mid-September.  It seeds itself about, but, in my opinion, is always welcome.

The dark green leaves of Eastern Beebalm (Monarda bradburiana) are flushed with  burgundy.

Grasses dominate the landscape now.  Prairie Dropseed  (Sporobolis heterolepis) adds grace to any garden.


In the fall, the foliage of Little Bluestem (Schizachrium scoparium) turns to copper that lasts through the winter.

The feathery seeds sparkle like diamonds in the sunshine.

The Silphium are–well–interesting.  Prairie Dock (Silphium terebinthinaceum) is shown above and Compass Plant (Silphium laciniatum) below. Both grow 8-10′ tall with clusters of bright golden daisies at the top of the stems.  The leaves of both are striking–the large segmented leaves of compass plant point north and south, while the huge spade-shaped, long-stemmed rough leaves of  Prairie Dock  always remain cool to the touch even on the hottest summer day.  The leaves of both add character to  the landscape and dried arrangements.

This list is longer than I thought it would be.  I’ll add the still colorful woody plants to it in a couple of days.  Stay tuned.

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