We are experiencing an incredibly beautiful and long-lasting autumn in Alberta. Perhaps it is meant to make up for the summer-that-never-was.  This past week the temperatures reached the low 20’s (Celsius), with a high of 22 degrees. In November! I decided to take a walk through the perennial trial garden on Thursday in search of some late fall colour.

On the way to the garden I had to take a picture of this late monkshood, likely Aconitum arendsii, which is so late-blooming that often it doesn’t get a chance to bloom in Alberta. In the background is the new Enmax conservatory which opened one year ago this month.

Aconitum arendsii

In the perennial trial garden, one of my favourite plants, Helenium ‘Mardi Gras’, was still blooming away. I love this plant; it is a fantastic addition to the late summer/fall garden.

Helenium ‘Mardi Gras’

There were still a few blooms on Clematis ‘Multi Blue’ as well, despite the fact that it was moved in September. The foliage is a lovely bronzy brown colour in autumn.

Clematis 'Multi Blue'

Another of my favourite perennials in the trials, Sedum ‘Autumn Charm’, was still looking great. The foliage has held up well throughout the fall and was still impressive, especially compared to the other sedums in the trials. The flowers  are showing a bit of their dark wine colour, a lovely contrast to the variegated green and creamy yellow leaves.

Sedum 'Autumn Charm'

This little viola, Viola ‘Columbine’,  started blooming in early spring, slowed down just a little in the heat of summer, and is still blooming away in November!  All five plants were planted in 2009 and have survived one winter and two full growing seasons so far.  I would love to be able to evaluate it for one more year.

Viola 'Columbine'

Silene ‘Clifford Moor’ is a graduate from the 2007-2009 trial. Its small pink flowers are held on long, somewhat floppy stalks, but it is the foliage that really grabs our visitors attention. This is a wonderful woodland plant that still looks great in late fall!

Silene 'Clifford Moor'

On the way back to my office I spotted this white phlox, name unknown, still blooming away in the Dorothy Harvie Gardens.

This bright spot of colour  caught my eye under a spruce tree.  Surely it is almost time for the peacocks to move to their indoor winter home. I guess, like the rest of us, they are taking advantage of every good day that we are given.