Every Bloomin' Thing: Purple and Orange Brighten Fall
By Sharon Kessey
For Tri-County Newspapers
Across our small front yard from our front door is a showy display of fall bloomers that attract bees and hummingbirds and always make me smile.
The background green is a mounding primrose jasmine, Jasminum mesnyi, that's about 5 feet tall. In front of that is a row of 3-foot asters, Aster lateriflorus, a California native that survives well here and provides a fall profusion of light purple daisy-like blossoms with yellow centers.
In front of the asters is another native plant, Zauschneria californica (or Epilobium canum canum), commonly called California fuchsia.
The row of 2-foot plants is just tall enough to hide the rather scruffy brown leaves on the lower Aster stems. Its blossoms are tubular, about 1.5 inches long, and bright orange and serve as a magnet for hummingbirds, which seem to love the orange tubes and are able to reach the nectar at the base of the flowers with their long beaks. Meanwhile, the bees frequent the asters, gathering pollen and nectar and helping pollinate the plant.
Off one end of this showy double row is another purple flower, a tall rosemary, Rosmarinus officinalis. Its small pretty face-like flowers also attract the hummingbirds and its sturdy upright stems are covered with finely-divided dark green leaves that contrast well with the lighter greens of the other plants.
Between the rosemary and double row of asters and Zauschneria is a clump of lemon grass, Cymbopogon citratus. It stands about 4 feet tall, and its half-inch-wide yellow-green leaves are erect in the center and arching outward around the sides. After a rain, when the weight of the water droplets causes the aster and Zauschneria flower stems to lean forward, the collection becomes a triple cascade of green jasmine, purple aster, and orange Zauschneria, with a side complement of arching yellow-green lemon grass.
It's pleasing arrangement, especially this time of year when the purple aster and rosemary flowers and the orange Zauschneria blooms, amid the various shades of green, provide such a vibrant display.
Sharon Kessey is a member of the Red Bluff Garden Club, which is affiliated with the Cascade District Garden Club; California Garden Club, Inc; Pacific Garden Clubs; and National Garden Clubs, Inc.