3 size-xl, extra-late perennial performers

IAM LOOKING FOR ANY BRIGHT SPOTS ABOUT NOW, as the mid-October-looking garden surfaces in this driest September.  A couple of easy, big perennials—Lespedeza thunbergii (above), the bush clover, and some favorite Aralias (including Aralia cordata and A. racemosa) are managing to do their thing in spite of tough times. Thank heaven for big favors. Do you grow either one?

The Profiles:

  1. Shelly says:

    Once again your post is right on time. I saw the bush clover last weekend at Meijer Botanical Gardens in Grand Rapids, Michigan – it stopped me in my tracks…what a beauty! I haven’t noticed it growing here in the northwest but I spent some time this week looking for a local source, to no avail. Looks like mail order is the next step. The joys of plant hunting!

  2. barbara says:

    Every year a plant comes along that somehow has managed to escape my radar and is new to me….although everybody else has grown it! This year it’s lespedeza which I have ordered on-line and am eager to try out. Margaret, my Will’s Wonderful is getting ready to pop and I cannot wait to see if it displaces Pink Sheffield as my new favorite mum. Thanks much!

  3. Laura W says:

    Lespedeza had always been on my ‘I think I might need that but I haven’t actually seen it blooming in person yet'” list. Until this past week when I encountered the big lovely at Montgomery Place, near Rhinebeck, NY. WOW! And after such a long, hot, dry season it didn’t look a bit tired. Definitely moving L. thunbergii over to my ‘Must Haves’.

  4. Lori says:

    I first saw Lespedeza blooming in Dr. Michael Dirr’s Georgia garden 10 years ago and have not regretted planting that beauty! It’s off in the distance of my border and right now blooming along with plumbago and sedum. Yes it is such a WOW after our long hot and dry summer, and you are tempting me to try the variegated Lespedeza hopefully with the same wonderful results.

    1. Margaret says:

      Welcome, Lori, fellow Lespedeza lover. (We could all start a club, right?) :) Hope to see you soon again — and jealous that you got to go to Dirr’s place!

  5. Pat says:

    I bought Lespedeza at a Master Gardener’s sale, not knowing what it was. I just loved the soft tiny leaves and soft growth pattern. It was small and not in bloom. They told me it would bloom in late summer. No idea how big. Last summer was it’s first bloom. OMG. How beautiful, how BIG. It looks the size of an overgrown forsythia. It has overtaken a red buckeye tree that I planted nearby at the same time. Is it ok to move the buckeye now?. It looks like it suffered. Hope it’s not too late. At least it’s finally raining here. Any suggestions?

    1. Margaret says:

      Welcome, Pat. I think moving most deciduous things (especially young ones) just as they drop their leaves is fine. Water it well before, and after. I love both those plants and have them here, too. I guess great minds think alike in plants choice, huh? :)

  6. My lespedeza was planted in a lovely sunny area and thrived. Over the years, as trees matured and the gardener (moi!) neglected to respond, the lespedeza STILL thrives! It’s in nearly full shade, and while I doubt a young seedling could cope, it puts on a lovely show every fall – absolutely neglected!

  7. Kathleen says:

    I’ll definitely try the lespedeza next year. Gorgeous. By the way, where did you get the chairs? They are terrific.

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