What a gorgeous autumn we are having in Alberta! In the 26 years that I have lived in this province, I have never seen such beautiful fall colours in the trees and shrubs . The perennial trial gardens are fading gracefully, but there are many perennials still blooming. Some have only started to bloom in the past couple of weeks, adding a lovely splash of colour to the autumn garden. 

The arctic chrysanthemum, Arctanthemum arcticum ‘Red Chimo’ , is one of those late fall bloomers. The flowers have only just opened in the past week, when we finally got a bit of sun and warm weather. What a wonderful surprise to find something blooming so beautifully just when you think the garden is almost finished. 

Arctanthemum 'Red Chimo'


Aster ‘Sapphire’ is another late bloomer which has also only started to flower in the past week. This Proven Winners introduction likely would have bloomed earlier if the late summer and early fall had been warmer. The plants are massive, very healthy and absolutely covered in flower buds. Hopefully they will all have time to open this fall. 

Aster 'Sapphire'


 Solidago ‘Little Lemon’ is a bright spot of colour in the autumn garden. ‘Little Lemon’ is a compact and floriferous goldenrod with bright yellow flowers. Another goldenrod in the trials, the dwarf Solidago ‘Goldrush’ is just about to bloom. 

Solidago 'Little Lemon'


 The flowers on the sedums are just starting to open and turn colour.  Sedum ‘Maestro’, with its lovely dark foliage and purple flowers, is just one of the many sedums blooming in the perennial trial gardens now. 

Sedum 'Maestro'


Eupatorium ‘Phantom’ certainly makes a statement in the garden, especially when there are eight plants in one spot, as there are in the perennial trial garden at the Calgary Zoo! This Joe Pye weed is not a plant for a small space, but it is certainly worth growing if you have the room. There is a dwarf Joe Pye in the trials called Eupatorium ‘Purple Bush’ which is somewhat smaller, but at over a metre high, it still might be hard to find a spot for it in a small garden. 

Eupatorium 'Phantom'

So much for the notion that the garden is finished now that it’s October.  There’s still a lot happening out there! With the right plants you can have blooms right up until winter arrives. We never know when that will be in Alberta, but why not squeeze every last bit of  enjoyment out of our gardens while we can?