This year’s Fling – a yearly get-together for garden bloggers, grammers and tubers – is the first to take place during the fall, from September 21 – 24. Or close enough, with the autumnal equinox happening on September 23.

It’s based around the Philadelphia area, including Longwood Gardens (the host), Chanticleer and a slew of private gardens. I won’t take up space describing this event; one or more Ranters have been attending these since 2008 – they’re lots of fun.

I’ll be curious, though, to see what the private gardeners have going at the end of September. (We can safely assume that Longwood and Chanticleer will be spectacular.)  I love September, but I have mixed feelings about  my September garden, outside of the hydrangeas. The Japanese maples, amsonia, and other perennials with fall color haven’t really started up. Many of the brightly flowering perennials are done and I don’t find my David Austin roses giving me a big September display. Lilies are done.

I am deadheading buddleia and double rudbeckia like crazy, to get the most out of those shows. Annuals like petunia and lobelia have to be cut way back or just removed. 

But some common annuals and big tropicals provide quite a show in September. I have been going all out on coleus, finding that I can get some really interesting varieties through a combo of local nurseries and online. These are workhorses and if you mass contrasting types together, it’s not bad at all.

Lobularia, alyssum, whatever you want to call it is fabulous through October, with its honey scent; white euphorbia also laughs at seasonal change. Begonias and annual salvia, same.

This is also the time the alocasia and colocasia soar and multiply.  And of course, we all know the value of zinnias.

I don’t plan for a fall garden, however – I just try to have things that go through the season, i.e., no mums or ‘Autumn Joy.’ Just like winter interest, the fall equivalent will have to take care of itself. 

It will be interesting to see what people in the Longwood area do.