Here are photos of the garden as it slips into its autumn colors.
Somewhere between a large shrub and a small tree, the harlequin glorybower (Clerodendrum trichotomum, Zones 7–10) produces fragrant white flowers in summer that are followed by these stunningly colored fruits. The leaves, if crushed, have an unusual smell that gives this plant the other common name of “peanut butter tree.”
Frogs, toads, and other amphibians are notoriously sensitive to chemical pollution, so not only are they welcome garden visitors for their habit of gobbling up slugs and other pests, but they are also a sign that the garden is a welcome habitat for wildlife.
Chocolate eupatorium (Ageratinua altissima ‘Chocolate’, Zones 4–8) has dark purplish foliage all summer and then explodes into fluffy white flowers at the end of the season.
The spectacular hybrid salvia ‘Wendy’s Wish’ (Zones 9–11 or as annual) is loaded down with blooms beloved by hummingbirds.
Dahlias (Dahlia variabilis, Zones 8–10 or as tender bulbs) can bloom most of the summer but always seem to peak right at the end.
The tiny flowers of tall verbena (Verbena bonariensis, Zones 7–11 or as an annual) are produced in big masses all summer long, and even where they can’t survive the winter, they tend to self-seed to come back year after year.
Staghorn sumac (Rhus typhina, Zones 3–8) shifts into autumn colors.
Lantana (Lantana camara, Zones 8–11, but hardiness varies by cultivar; often grown as an annual), loaded down with flowers, is always a hit with butterflies and other pollinators.
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