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Floral notes: Late bloomers

Community Columnist

—Artemisia lactiflora [Milk or White Mugwort] A graceful four-foot arc of pale cream, scented sprays over ferny foliage in the shade. “Guizho” is a pink version with dark leaves and purple stems that was lovely the one year it lived here. “Limelight” is a variety with variegated leaves of cream and chartreuse along with green.

—Aster [New England] ‘Harrington’s Pink’ is four-feet or more in softest pink, needs staking and is a generous spreader, but the short New York asters that abound in nurseries in fall are not great the years after planting. They grow too fast to keep enough water to feed the mass of flowers and foliage and look awful by summer’s end. Full sun for all.

—Boltonia asteroides No common name, but the second part of the Latin name for this plant tells you it looks like stars. So many white stars that from a distance, it resembles a four-foot boulder of white. Likes full sun and blooms in September.

—Cerastostigma [Leadwort or Hardy Plumbago] Bright blue flowers appear from August to September on a cascading stem with foliage that turns crimson in fall. It likes rock walls, which protect the roots from cold, and is a fast spreader. Happy in sun or partly shaded, they grow up to eight inches tall.

—Chelone obliqua [Turtlehead] Pink blooms that live up to their common name on three-foot or more stems. Grow in moist or normal soil in full sun. Blooms from August to September.

—Chrysanthemum [Clara Curtis] Always hardy, this mum starts the show early in August, a single pink daisy that loves full sun and spreads easily. One other mum that blooms very late in October for me is “Sheffield,” with large salmon daisies which last weeks in arrangements and don’t mind an early snow.

—Hibiscus Looking like the tropical shrub you see on vacation or the rose of Sharon shrub on steroids, we’ve been astounding the ladies at dinner by presenting them with eight-inch round white, pink or ruby flowers that come from our perennial, hardy five-foot bushes that grow from nothing every summer. Throw some water on them in August and a scoop of Osmocote every spring and stand back.

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