Wednesday, October 1, 2008

More favorite plants - Autumn Joy and Agastache

Both were plants I actually disliked at first.

I thought Sedum Autumn joy rigid and graceless with a dull brick color that was totally unappealing. Maybe my philosophy of using pest free, drought tolerant plants has colored my view. I've come to appreciate it and even like that dull color.
I bought my first agastache a few years ago. Blue Fortune, I love blue in the garden. Well, it wasn't blue and I was quite disappointed when I found the blooms were actually gray. Fast forward about 4 years and now I really appreciate this tireless, effortless plant. No pests, just hundreds of butterflies. It still isn't blue, but the color blends well with almost anything. My agastache is just beginning to fade. It has bloomed continuously since July. Like Autumn Joy, it's a tough plant that doesn't want coddling or watering or fertilizing. It will grow in gravel-- in fact it prefers it. These are two plants that nature has designed to grow well in my area and I'm taking advantage of that fact.
I've mentioned my Volcano phlox once or twice before. It's in full bloom again. This little plant pumps out blooms like no other phlox I've ever seen. Absolutely no mildew, no insects, no watering. I want more of these, but would you believe I can't find any for sale? I'll continue to look, I don't think a garden could have too many.

34 comments:

Rose said...

I love my Autumn Joy sedum, but some years it has gotten floppy--too much watering possibly? This year is its best ever, and I appreciate the color in the garden when everything is fading. I don't have any agastache, but definitely will have to look into it--anything tough enough to grow even in gravel is a plant I can use!

(I think we are following each other around in Blogland today:) )

Mary said...

I love that phlox! One of my favorite flowers. Mine are long gone.

walk2write said...

All of these plants have earned their right to be called beautiful, Marnie. I have never heard of Volcano phlox. Interesting that it erupts with another cycle of bloom in the fall. Is it fragrant too?

Roses and Lilacs said...

Hi Rose. Try cutting your Autumn Joy back by about half in June. It will be shorter and won't lean so much.
Marnie

tina said...

All plants look very good. I love them too but unlike you I have always loved the Autumn Joy. I think it looks like heads of cauliflower so for me it was the texture, not the color. You might try cuttings on the Volcano phlox. I have never seen it anywhere but if I do-I'll snatch it up in honor of you Marnie!

Roses and Lilacs said...

Hi Mary, my other phlox are long gone too--well David is putting out abuot 8 tiny flowers but they are barely noticeable. That's why volcano is so great. They bloom all the time.
Marnie

Roses and Lilacs said...

Good morning Walk2Write. Volcano has at least 3 bloom cycles--long ones;)
Marnie

Dog_geek said...

More nice pics! How tall does the volcano phlox get? And do you cut it back after it blooms?

Cindy ~ My Romantic Home said...

Regarding your comment on my blog. It is hard to find but it's right after my Archive list.

Rambling Woods said...

I don't know what kind of sedum I have, but it is sedum according to my Mother...pretty flowers. I wish I knew more about gardening..

Roses and Lilacs said...

Hi Tina, It looks like vegetables to me to;) I will try cuttings next spring. I really wanted the red and white ones tho. If you find it, you'll like it.
Marnie

Roses and Lilacs said...

Hi Dog Geek. It only gets about 2-feet tall. You don't cut it back, just deadhead it, snip off the old blooms.
Marnie

Roses and Lilacs said...

Hi Rambling Woods. There are lots of sedums. All colors and growth habits. I have several, but not many of the new varieties like the veriegated ones or the red foliaged ones.
Marnie

flydragon said...

Thanks for the great tip about cutting the sedum back in June. Mine tends to flop too, which is one of the reasons I don't care for it. I will try the cutting back next year.

Roses and Lilacs said...

Hi flydradon. When you cut the sedums back, don't forget to tear the lower leaves off the cut pieces and stick them in the soil. They will root and grow in place.
Marnie

perennialgardener said...

Your Autumn Joy looks fabulous! Those are all wonderful drought tolerant perennials for the summer-fall garden. Your Volcano Phlox is gorgeous!

Beth said...

I've never tried the Agastachee - it reminds me of salvia - only lighter. I like anything that's easy to grow in crappy soil! We have so much clay around here in our soil.

Gail said...

Marnie, Those are three really stellar plants. I have found that Autumn Joy really doesn't do well if it gets too wet; I do like the idea of planting it in gravel! Is Volcano the named variety? It is a lovely plant!

gail

BeadedTail said...

I love learning about all these beautiful plants from you!

Iowa Victory Gardener said...

Hi Marnie,
Your sedum looks fantastic! We used to disdain this one, but we did plant a few across the street in our neighbor's beds (he's the one who gave us the boulders) and they do quite well in his clay. They're blooming now (the only color over there) and look quite nice. From across the street! hehe

Our plain old Phlox is still blooming a bit ... I think this year it has done the best it has ever done since we planted it 4 yrs ago. It sure is spreading!

That's a nice Agastache, and might be one worth seeking out. I planted some years ago out front (a more lavender variety) and it took over so aggressively (I mean seriously, it was crowding everything out) that I dug it all up, gave it away and then composted what was left. It still lurks a bit in the back (that's ok) and is a really pretty plant if you can contain it. The bees and butterflies sure love it!

reddnas1 said...

Great plants are those which require so little of us and return so much. Loved the photos.~~Dee

Roses and Lilacs said...

Hi Perennial Gardener, after our 75-year drought in 2005, I am eliminating everything that requires excessive water. These are perfect for the dry summer prairie state.
Marnie

Roses and Lilacs said...

Hi Beth. As long as drainage is good, Agastache should perform well. It is a lot like salvia only it gets taller and doesn't spread horizontally as much.
Marnie

Roses and Lilacs said...

Hi Gail, yes Volcano is a hybrid created by some Dutch company. They crossed several Eastern European plants to produce a short, exceptionally disease resistant, heavy branching variety. This really is a break thru in phlox.
Marnie

Roses and Lilacs said...

Hi IVG, Blue Fortune is sterile so you won't have that reseeding problem. It does get large, after 4 years my original is about 3 x 3. It probably could be trimmed in early June to keep it a little shorter.
Marnie

Kathleen said...

I felt the same way you did about sedums at first Marnie but I fell instantly in love with Agastaches. Have you tried 'rupestris' (sunset hyssop) or the 'Cana' varieties?? They might make good additions to your already beautiful garden.

pat said...

I rreally like the muted tones of the silvery leaves and washed brick colored flowers on the sedum...perfect for autumn!

Roses and Lilacs said...

Hi Kathleen. I've heard those varieties are short lived and not reliable in this zone. I will do some research on them because I would love to add other colors and shapes.
Marnie

Roses and Lilacs said...

Hi Pat, they do look like autumn. Thanks for stopping by and leaving that kind commment.
Marnie

oldcrow61 said...

Hi there, thanks for visiting my blog. I had to take a peek at yours. Lovely photos you have here. It seems we grow some of the same flowers. My sedum and phlox are in bloom at the moment and just lovely. I grow many plants for butterflies and bees so was interested to hear about the agastache. I too garden organically. The sedum is full of bees every day the sun shines, a beautiful sight to see.

Kathleen said...

Hello again Marnie. My rupestris and cana agastaches reseed freely so I haven't been without them in the garden for the past seven years (since I first planted them). I've lost track now if I still have the original plants or not. Does that help any?

Roses and Lilacs said...

Hi Old Crow, thanks for visiting. I love plants that attract butterflies and bees. I think you would like the agastache. How lonely the garden is without the little insects and birds.
Marnie

Shellmo said...

Really enjoyed these flowers! And loved the downy woodpecker photos in your side bar!

Mr. McGregor's Daughter said...

I've never grown 'Autumn Joy' but I wonder how it compares to 'Autumn Fire,' which I've also never grown. (I feel like I'm breaking the law.) I've had Agastache in my hand a few times this summer & always put it back. I might have room for one next year. I've been eyeing the chartreuse foliaged one, but it's hardy only to Zone 6, so I'm seriously considering 'Black Adder.'
That Phlox sounds very interesting. It looks a lot like 'David's Lavender,' which has underwhelmed me. But then I have to ask myself, do I really need another Phlox, especially when I'm in love with 'Nicky' which is still blooming nicely & has been in bloom constantly since June?