September- What's in Lisa's Garden?

Lisa Colburn


In My Garden (Zone 3-4)

Lisa Colburn
Lisa Colburn is a crazy gardener, great cook and author of The Maine Garden Journal.


Fall has always been my favorite season. The time when everything bursts with its last beauty, as if nature had been saving up all year for the grand finale....

~Lauren Destefano, -Wither

I love this time of year in the garden. So many plants are mature and strutting their stuff. I know that in my part of the country the show will come to an end in the near future so, I'm savoring this feast for the eyes.

Digiplexis, Illumination Flame has been as beautiful as I had imagined! Its pinky- peach flowers are a color not often seen. Digiplexis is a foxglove hybrid that may not be winter hardy in this area but, I'll be giving it the "Maine test!" I've been surprised by other plants that weren't supposed to make it here. Snow acts as an insulating blanket so I'm always eager to push the limits. Zone denial?

I love placing containers throughout my gardens. I'm particularly fond of large, glazed clay pots. They elevate plants up to eye-level where they can be best appreciated. Soil in pottery containers warms up faster than the surrounding garden - great for large-leafed tropical plants that also benefit from the reduced root competition. Tropical plants are heavy feeders and welcome reliable moisture. I water almost daily with a weak solution of high nitrogen fertilizer.

I typically follow the container planting guidelines that suggest you have a filler, a spiller and a thriller. In this container my thriller is Canna 'Pretoria', and a combination of two plants acts as both a spiller and a filler. Euphorbia 'Diamond Frost' and Scaevola 'Topaz Pink' grow through each other and create a fabulous contrast with this deep burgundy pot.

I always plant a few containers with elephant ear plants.  This glazed pickle crock greets people as they come to my front door. (Note: make sure to drill a few holes in the bottom of pots for drainage.) The thriller is a large, impressive elephant ear plant. The fillers are two kinds of coleus and a begonia. A delicate pale blue lobelia is the spiller. As you can imagine, this container, packed with plants, requires lots of attention to continue looking its best. I water it almost every day.

A few days ago, a friend dropped by with a gift of gladioli. They're huge, they're impressive and they're a challenge to display. I found the perfect solution with this watering can.  Doesn't that add a touch of pizzazz to my front porch?




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Gardening Tip of the Day

  • Before a hard frost, carefully dig up summer-flowering bulbs such as cannas, dahlias, gladioli, caladiums, tuberous begonias, and tuberoses. Shake off soil, dry them thoroughly, label, and store in a well-ventilated, dry, cool (but not freezing), dark place over the winter. Bulbs can be planted outside in the spring when the weather warms.