The quintessential plant for the fall season has to be sedum. This is one hardy, tough, drought tolerant plant that looks great all year. I love love love it in my garden-in any garden really! I grow many cultivars including the common 'Autumn Joy', 'Brilliant', 'Blue Spruce' sedum, 'Acre', 'Matrona', the new cultivar 'Autumn Flame', and probably about half a dozen more; names unknown to me. This post happens to highlight only 'Autumn Joy' but believe me when I tell you that you can't go wrong with any sedum as long as you site it properly.
I have had problems with some sedums flopping. I don't like that trait at all but I've found the problem is usually with the site I have chosen for the sedums. Sedums seem to prefer a lean soil in full sun. The rich organic soil I strive for here in Tiger Gardens is not what sedums desire. The soil plus the fact my gardens are sun challenged does not help the situation at all. If you wish to grow sedums well place them in full sun in average well drained soil. Here we have a view of my Rear Center Garden. This time last year this garden was bare due to the extended drought and extreme heat we experienced last year. After that experience I decided to fix the situation by placing all drought tolerant perennials in this bed. These perennials include: alliums, bulbs, catmint, sedums, daylilies, gray headed coneflowers, ornamental grasses, smoke trees, thermopsis, irises, and asters. There are also a few peonies in this bed. I simply can't garden without peonies in all my beds. Unfortunately peonies don't look all that great by the the time the fall rolls around. Nonetheless they are fillers in this bed and will shine again come spring. The pink aster you see blooming midway in this bed is 'HoneySong'. There are two blue ones on the other side of 'HoneySong'. Asters are as drought tolerant as sedums and are also my go to fall plant of choice. They make a great companion for the sedums in this bed. Sedums are one of those perennials that can grow really big depending on the cultivar. The sheer size of large well grown sedums allow them to be used as specimen plants but personally I think sedums should be massed in groups of five or more. Good companion plants for sedums are any of the straight bladed plants like irises or daylilies, red hot pokers, or ornamental grasses. The aforementioned asters are also a nice contrast for sedums. This last picture was not taken in my garden but at the Huntsville Botanical Gardens. (My friend Phil took it and I am just borrowing it as I did not get a good picture of the sedums in the gardens). I sure wish I had the space to have a large swath of sedums backed by ornamental grasses as is pictured in this photo.
Mr. Fix-it, Jimmy and myself recently journeyed to Tuscumbia Alabama to visit the Birthplace of Helen Keller and to visit the Huntsville Botanical Gardens (in Huntsville which is about one hour east of Tuscumbia). We traveled with a familiar group of folks-the Montgomery County Tennessee Master Gardeners. More on that trip in a later post. For now I just wanted to share the sedums....sedums....and more SEDUMS....
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