The calendar says it’s autumn, but wow is it ever still hot! We have now had almost double the number of over-90 degree days in a normal summer and almost no rain since June. Drought has taken hold even though we had a massive amount of rainfall for three full months in the spring. The poor heat-stressed grass is having a hard time bouncing back, so I’m really happy to have at least one stalwart perennial to count on looking beautiful. Sedum, or Stonecrop — also known as Autumn Joy!
Despite the ultra hot weather and drought conditions, I can always count on these beauties this time of year! They look beautiful all summer ranging in color from green to white, then in late August to early September they start their transformation into every different shade of pink and onto a lovely shade of coral.
They are beautiful mixed in with other plants, or in waves or borders of all sedum. I love the look here mixed in with the knock out roses.
If they grow too fast in the early season, they can sometimes get very top heavy and split open from the center. I have two remedies for this. First, you can always pinch them back to about a foot tall before July, but if you love the taller look, here’s a solution to that: Place six or so garden stakes in the ground an inch or so in from the outside diameter with another circle of three or four of the stakes about half way in to the center of the plant. From there wind some really strong twine or coated wire carefully from stake to stake on the outside and drawn in to the (hidden) stakes in the center. Lift the branches carefully above the wire as you go. (Think about how a spider web looks.) Sometimes you need to do this in stages an inch or two at a time while raising the branches, as too much at one time can split a heavy branch. Another tip is to use black coated wire. (I use old, recycled wire from a former invisible fence.) It almost disappears even up close, but six feet away you can’t see it at all!
When I moved here 19 years ago I brought only two sedums from my last garden. Every two or three years I split each one into 2 or 3 plants, and now I have masses of them here and there throughout the garden. I’ve turned the original two into probably 60! It is a definite main staple in the garden here, and with so many extras to give to away to friends. Gardening gold! Another big plus is that the pollinators and butterflies love them! A question about these fantastic perennials from a friend a few days ago inspired me to make them my feature plant for this blog segment. Thank you, Cathi! If you are looking for a plant that does well in virtually any climate, even the harshest of summer weather, there is no more perfect choice than Autumn Joy! One last look from the other direction-
Autumn Gardening, Changing Seasons, Choosing Plants, Climate change, Coastal gardens, dry summer, Gardening in Alexandria, Gardening in the Mid-Atlantic area, Gardening in the WashingtonDC area, Gardening Tips, Sedum, Autumn Joy, Stonecrop, Summer plants, Sun loving plants, Uncategorized