September - What’s in Carol's Garden?

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Your Regional reporter

Carol Michel is a regional reporter photo

Carol Michel is a lifelong gardener and resident of Indiana with a Bachelor’s degree in Horticulture Production from Purdue University.
She regularly writes about her old books, hoes, and many other gardening related topics for Indiana Gardening and on her award-winning garden blog, www.maydreamsgardens.com. She is the author of the recently released book Potted & Pruned: Living a Gardening Life.

I actually enjoy the cooler September days. My garden isn’t always looking its best in September but it has a calmness to it that I enjoy before the season is really over.
One of the plants I enjoy in the shade garden is hardy begonia, Begonia grandis. It is one of the last of the perennials to show up again the spring, and fittingly one of the last to bloom. I found out from a friend who is an expert in foraging food both in the wild and from unexpected sources in the garden that the flowers are edible.

Hardy begonia leaves add variety to the shade garden.

Hardy begonia flowers are edible.

I joined a garden club earlier this year and though they don’t have flower shows any longer, we were asked to bring a flower arrangement to a recent meeting for a “gentle critique”. I was able to pick all the flowers for my arrangement from my own garden. I kept them in water in the refrigerator overnight and then arranged them in the morning. I was happy with the result and am trying now to have more flower arrangements on the table and not just “pick and stick” bouquets, though those are also lovely.

An arrangement made with flowers from my garden lasted for almost a week.

“Pick and Stick” bouquets are easy to do.

By the end of the month, I’ll be enjoying several late fall blooming perennials including New England Asters, Symphyotrichum novae-angliae, and several varieties of Goldenrod, including Solidago shortii ‘Solar Cascade’. I cut both plants by half back in late May to encourage branching and more flower buds. When flowering, their blooms will be covered with bees and other pollinators, all trying to get the last of the pollen of the season. It’s a good reminder to me to get busy in the garden, too, and take advantage of the cooler weather to plant, clean up, and enjoy the garden before the season is over.

Asters add color at the end of the growing season.

Goldenrod attracts many pollinators.