Perennial gardens can be an ever changing palette for the artistic gardener who plants for a succession of blooms. Most plants only bloom for a few weeks, so it's important to plan the perennial garden with knowledge of blooming times to keep the garden a showplace until frost. While annual flowering plants bring instant color to the garden, planning for blooms later in the season, when heat and drought may have faded the spring freshness, ensures a bright colorful garden.
Coreopsis blooms through October, with medium yellow or pink blossoms on a plant that reaches 1 to 3 feet at maturity. It likes moist well-drained soil in a sunny part of the garden. Choose the right coreopsis for the late blooming garden from the several cultivars available. Moonbeam and Zagred are shorter coreopsis, growing to about 12 to 18 inches tall. Moonbeam has soft yellow flowers, while the Zagred has smaller flowers of yellow. Pink coreopsis cultivars include the spreading Rosea that reaches a height of 12 to 15 inches, and Heavens Gate, with red centered pink flowers that are quite large.
Obedient Plant (Physotegia virginiana) is a late-blooming perennial with blooms of pink, white or rose on spikes that can reach 3 feet. The fall flowers can easily be cut for indoor bouquets. The Obedient Plant gets its name from its ability to remain facing the direction it’s planted in.
There is an appropriate late-blooming hardy aster (Aster spp.) for every garden. Asters can grow from 1 to 4 feet tall and are available in blue, white, pink, lavender and purple. The blue aster is particularly popular because blue is such a rare color in garden plants.
Rudbeckia (Rudbeckia spp.) is also known as the coneflower. Blooming until frost, the plants grow from 2 to 9 feet tall. The flowers have drooping petals around green, black or dark brown cone-shaped centers.
The balloon flower (Platycodon) is a perennial that emerges late in the spring, so don’t forget where it’s planted. The unique balloon-shaped buds give the plant its common name. When opened, the blue, pink or white flowers are star shaped. The late-blooming balloon flower grows to heights from 6 to 24 inches.