Tag Archives: sedum ‘autumn fire’

Breaking News

Frenchtown, NJ

The people in this small and tight knit rural New Jersey river town are in collective shock this afternoon after learning that one of their own has done the unthinkable; publicly denounce the ubiquitous and fall thriving plant known as “Stonecrop” (or “Sedum” to those garden snobs who throw around Latin plant names as a means to impress and ultimately intimidate).

John Markowski, a local avid gardener and supposed garden blogger, was allegedly discovered early this morning in a disillusioned state as he gave a tongue lashing to the previously mentioned “Sedum” plants in his sprawling garden. A neighbor, concerned that John seemed agitated and louder than usual as he walked through his garden early this morning, tried to approach him but was quickly rebuked by a look that he could only describe as “peculiar”.

Here is the unnamed neighbor’s take:

“John normally walks through the garden early each morning but he normally does so as if he were I don’t know, a giddy ballerina. The entire neighborhood knows this and we’ve all become accustomed to it. Whatever floats his boat.”

“But this morning was very different. Scarily different. There was an intensity like I’ve never seen before and the noises coming from within the garden were strange enough that it had both of my dogs barking incessantly.”

“I attempted to approach him to see what was wrong and all he was doing was mumbling to himself. All I could make out was ‘I’m done with sedums. I don’t like them and they will be removed from my garden’. Now I don’t know much about gardening, but I know enough to know that them there are the words of a crazy man. Everyone loves sedums, or whatever they are called. I quickly walked away and contacted my buddy at the local newspaper”. 

Upon receiving this tip, we immediately sent someone out to the property to monitor the situation but the self proclaimed ONG was nowhere to be found. We did, however, encounter a family spokesperson who offered little more than a “no comment” and “this family has suffered enough gardening drama to last a lifetime so please respect their privacy at this time.”  

We were however able to get this photo of what was allegedly the subject of Mr. Markowski’s wrath earlier today.          


Adorable and pink, right? 

After leaving the home, we sent an email to Mr. Markowski hoping to get his side of the story so it would quell the fears of all of the locals. Within a few hours we received a response and well, you be the judge:

“I appreciate your concern and the concern from my neighbors and all of the community. I assure you I am of sound mind and there is no reason for any drummed up hysteria. It is as simple as this: I no longer enjoy having sedums in my garden. They just don’t work for me any more or I should say, they just don’t “fit” any longer. I knew there would be great backlash if I removed and tossed them because the friggin world loves sedums, especially right now as we move into fall. I had to psych myself up in order to do away with them and that pep talk must have been what scared my neighbor away. You can all breathe easy, it is no big deal. As the years have gone by, my garden has taken on a look and feel of mostly native plants and the sedum stick out like a sore thumb. If it would make everyone happy, I would be thrilled to donate them all to the highest bidder, I mean first to reach out. Thank you for your concern. By the way, check out my blog at www.obsessiveneuroticgardener.com”

We’ll all have to chew on that one for a while.

We plan on taking some time to page through Mr. Markowski’s blog to see if we can further assess his current demeanor. 

Our best guess is that this story still has legs going forward. Dude has a serious case of too many ornamental grasses and not enough flowers in his garden. Just look at these photos we obtained from an anonymous source.


grasses 2

grasses 3

Something just smells wrong here.   



The August Garden

As we hit the midpoint of August and slog through the dog days of summer, I realize that the plants in my garden can be broken down into three different categories:


Still going strong

Ready to take center stage

I guess these same categories exist throughout all of the gardening “seasons”, but it seems to be at an extreme right now.

And the garden, shocker, reflects life itself. Allow me to pontificate.

With the heat and humidity at what feels like an all time high (I’ll still take it over winter) I some times find myself caving and giving in to the joys of air conditioning. Likewise, so many plants have succumbed to the conditions and have thrown in the towel. No more fighting for that last new bloom or trying to keep up the facade of clean looking foliage. Uncle.

At the same time, there are those plants in my garden that say “f you” to these conditions and keep kicking ass. Not too unlike a certain gardener I know who can’t get enough of the stinging sweat in his eyes, the burning in the calves and easily runs through three t-shirts a day. A gardener who accepts the chuckles from his neighbors and keeps pulling weeds like it was hot yoga.

And then there are those plants who sense the cooler weather is coming and are ramping up for a big time display. There are subtle signs from some and not so subtle signs from others. You can feel their excitement, their turn to take the lead in the play. Fall is their time and they f’n know it. Hopefully my kids feel that same type of energy and excitement as they soon head off to high school and 5th grade. Because all kids feel that way,right?


No plants better represent the concept of fading than the coneflower. Phenomenal in peak bloom but in my humble opinion, still killer as the pink and yellow and white washes out, turns black and eventually becomes all cone.

coneflower spent


white coneflower


astilbe coneflower spent


Almost all of the Bee Balm blooms are in full fade mode yet still have a presence. That is if you take them in from a distance and ignore the slow takeover of powdery mildew.

bee balm and joe pye


Fading Agastache still pulls in the bees and who wants to get in the way of that?

spent agastache



The dwarf Sneezeweed (‘Mariachi’ series) are still blooming strong and the deer have no interest.

red dwarf sneezeweed


orange dwarf sneezeweed

Providing a nice contrast in form and color with the emerging ornamental grasses.

planter bed


If it takes surrounding hydrangea by grasses and other deer despising plants, so be it. It has worked and this hydrangea continues to thrive even with the extreme heat of the past few weeks.



Veronica ‘Royal Candles’, one of the few plants I cut back religiously, always provides multiple rebloom periods. These were cut back only two weeks ago.

veronica prune


veronica sedum bee balm


Of course it isn’t all about the flowers and one of my favorite foliage plants right now is Diervilla ‘Cool Splash’. It brightens up one of the few shaded areas in my garden and holds up all spring/summer.



I have tried for years to find a blue evergreen that would be ignored by the deer and say “no problem” to my clay soil that can sometimes be a bit waterlogged. Some how, Juniper ‘Wichita Blue’ has been the one to take the crown and three years in I am beyond thrilled. Upright, untouched by the deer and very little winter damage has made it a winner.

juniper wichita



The first signs of bloom on the Sedum ‘Autumn Fire’ appeared this week, which is always a reminder that September is fast approaching.

sedum pink


Boltonia blooms aplenty are here with plenty more to come. Of course once all blooms are present it will lean over and not be as fun to look at but I’ll be sure to never show you that photo.



Eupatorium ‘Wayside’ or Hardy Ageratum (but not really an Ageratum) finally survived the winter for me after two previous attempts. It seems to have reseeded more than it actually survived but who can complain. I love the late season color. A fun one to photograph in fall.

eup wayside


BONUS – Ornamental Grasses

I kind of like ornamental grasses in case you are new here. You’ve been warned.

Pennisetum ‘Hameln’ in full bloom as of this week.



penn and joe pye


First signs of blooms on Panicum ‘Northwind’.

panicum and joe pye


Same goes for Miscanthus ‘purpurascens’ or Flame Grass.

panicum miscanthus blooms


Panicum ‘Rotstrahlbusch’ and their airy blooms.

panicum rots


I “attempted” to rid my garden of all Northern Sea Oats and while there is still a ways to go, I’ve made major progress. Having said that, I can’t deny these NSO that have grown right through an Itea shrub look kind of awesome. Oh well.

sea oats

QOTD: Do you like this time of year in your garden? Why or why not?


What’s blooming now

It is kind of a slow time right now in the garden but here are some of the blooms that have emerged of late: 
Miscanthus purpurascens (Flame Grass)

Miscanthus purpurascens (Flame Grass)

Sedum ‘Autumn Fire’

Pennisetum ‘Hameln’

Boltonia ‘Pink Beauty’

Boltonia ‘Pink Beauty’

Pink Physostegia (Obedient plant) 

Dwarf Pink Phlox

“Prune in June” is back – Sedum ‘Autumn Fire’

Last June, I started my “Prune in June” series covering perennials I cut or pinched back in June to control the ultimate height and/or look of said perennials. June has come and gone already, but I logged my cutting back of these same perennials to once again closely analyze the results.

Today, we are talking Sedum ‘Autumn Fire’ but my guess is this same approach can be applied to other upright Sedum cultivars.

As a recap, here is what a pinched plant looked like by late Summer:

And a photo of an unpinched one:

A pinched plant in October:

And again, an un-pinched plant at that same time:

As you can see, the pinched plant bloomed later (by about 1 – 2 weeks) and provided extended color deeper into the Fall. That works for me.

The number of blooms on each stem was also greater on the pinched back plant which gave the Sedum a “fuller” look. Again, a win.

So for 2013, I pinched back each and every bud on each and every Sedum ‘Autumn Fire’ plant. Here is how they looked pre-pinching:

And how they now look post-pinching:

As I did last year, I’ll be tracking the results throughout the Summer/Fall. This is life changing info we all need and I am here to provide just that for you.

You are most welcome.