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Late Summer Perennials at the Old Stone House


By Carl Wilson, Extension Horticulturist, Denver County

The Old Stone House is an open space gem. Located in Southwest Denver, the cottage boasts a small lawn and several large perennial borders. Beyond are grassland, ponds and Bear Creek.

An August visit to the perennial gardens debunks the myth that perennial flowers are May-June wonders. Thanks to the efforts of dedicated plantsmen and women, the selection of perennials available today assures gardeners of bloom throughout the growing season. This is not to say that annual flowers don’t have a place. They do. Many new annuals such as Callibrachoa, Bacopa, Ipomea, Evolvulus and Helichryssum are appearing at garden centers to add to the diet of petunias and geraniums gardeners have enjoyed for years.

Among the new perennials for western gardens planted at Old Stone House, the Agastache (hyssop) and Penstemon (beardstongue) stand out. Stone House features several of the best including Agastache aurantiaca ‘Coronado’ and Penstemon ‘Red Rocks’ and P. ‘Pikes Peak Purple’. The gardens are anchored by the summer standbys: Echinacea (purple coneflower), Rudbeckia (black eyed susan) and Centranthus (Jupiter’s beard). Also of interest are the various Verbascum (mullein), Malva (mallow), Amorpha (leadplant), Gaura (Whirling butterflies), Achillea (yarrow), Solidago (goldenrod) and Knautia.

The ornamental grasses are also coming into their prime including Calamogrostis (feather reed grass), Miscanthus (maiden grass), Erianthus (ravenna grass) and the steely blue Panicum virgatum ‘Heavy Metal’ (switchgrass).

Due to the diligence of Chris and other Lakewood Parks personnel, the quality of maintenance for this public garden is high. Timely deadheading has brought about rebloom of the Delphinium, Salvia x sylvestris and Veronica spicata ‘Goodness Grows’. Promises of next year’s renewal of the north shade bed will be watched with interest.

I invite you to take a photo tour of the summer gardens at Stone House. Then, consider trying some of these plants in your own garden.

Just click on the sign below to take the photo tour.

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Confused about when to divide your perennials? See: The Timing of Dividing Perennials

Interested in learning more about perennials? See: References

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Date last revised: 01/05/2010