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Garden up to November

M.G. Gallagher

EAGLE COUNTY – It’s a rather unscientific opinion, but I think I’ve seen a couple of different groups of people that plant flowers. There are some who pop some annuals in somewhere or in something and think that by August, it’s too late to do any gardening. Then there are those who have something happening in their landscape into November.Fortunately, the latter seems to be the much larger demographic. We have a rather landscape-savvy population here. The real point being, the planting season is not even close to being over. There is a long list of perennials, shrubs, and trees that can be planted for the next three months. This week we’ll hit two great families of color for later summer that you can enjoy now.I will be redundant with the agastaches (hyssops), as it is such a special group of full sun, low-water perennial sweeties. One of the most beautiful is one of the most hardy. and more varieties are hardy around Eagle and farther west. We have so many cheater microclimates around here, I’m sure that some of the zone 5 agastaches would make it in Edwards.Sunset Hyssop is also called licorice mint. First, its purple into orange tones are unique, and superb at the front of a garden. They seem to stay smaller in higher altitudes. (This is my own experience and observation in this county, so it isn’t gospel.) In hotter areas of the valley, they might reach three feet, so they can be used in mid-areas, too. It also has a light, sweet licorice-like fragrance that will keep you hanging out by them. What more? Hummingbirds like them, too.Agastache cana is another hyssop that flowers summer into fall. It’s another hummingbird flower, and it smells nice. It is usually sold as a zone 5 plant, and has overwintered in the west end of the valley seemingly OK.Doublebubble mint is another late season agastache that has been grown in Gypsum. It really does smell like bubble gum, and better. It is only vulnerable to one known critter, and that is me. If I run into the plant, I will eat it like candy. On that note, another advantage of agastache is that like other mints, it tastes bad to deer and other plant gobblers. Except humans.Another useful family is the mallows. They include some excellent later season, low-water selections that are perfect for this area. Low-growing poppy mallow, a magenta splash on the ground is eye-catching. Rose mallow is upright pink, and loves the heat and sun of the western Eagle Valley. Even in the east, a great example of an upright pink mallow is at the bottom of Mountain Star Drive in Avon, past Pizza Hut. There is a large stand in the entryway bed. Two green thumbs up on this one. Perfect choice for the spot.Hollyhocks are part of this undemanding clan, and can be seen here and there. Mallows are worth both a trip to the nursery and looking up on the Internet. Mallows, malvas, sidalceas, and so on – these all include varieties that have utility function, and the various mallow color tones happen to blend well. It’s an underused group that absolutely should see more use here.We’ve looked at two groups of very useful flowers, but I want to stress again that these wonderful selections don’t see enough use up here. I think it’s simply a matter of people not being familiar with them. They’re worth getting to know.M.G. Gallagher writes a column on gardening and landscaping for the Daily. Vail, Colorado


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