The first indication I had that there was a “hussie” in the garden was the intoxicating scent of perfume as I was drifting off to sleep. How sweet it was. Could it have been the Stargazer lily or perhaps Casa Blanca? Maybe Clethra rosea, aka “summersweet”? 

In following days as I did my ambles around the garden there was more evidence of bawdiness. The loud gold of rudbeckia “Goldsturm” and the ligularia with its burgundy-tinged leaves against golden blooms could not be ignored. 

Phlox paniculata in white clusters tried to tone down the chaos, but the native fuchsia kept elbowing its way into the picture. A few steps further and some scarlet begonias and the “Lucifer” crocosmia wanted to be noticed.

A real show-off in late summer is the slow-growing thread-leaf Japanese maple. However, the deep burgundy of the full leaved Japanese maple would not be outdone. Here and there creeps in a stalk of native goldenrod, and the deliberately planted solidago “Fireworks” captures your eye and mind for sure.

I see the asters just off stage preparing for the grand finale and their sultry entrance. There will be costumes of royal purple and flashy lavender that will attract the wild orange of monarchs.

Vermont gardeners spend ferocious energy in spring to prepare for their garden enjoyment, which seems to last for such a short time. But we persevere in spite of the rapid progression of beauties out the back door. Each season offers its own particular excitement, and we are broken in gently from tulips and daffodils and gentle scilla and muscari. The much-anticipated ephemerals delight us too.

As sad as it is to see the season nearing its end, there is much to offer in the late summer display. Venture out and enjoy the show! Who says summer’s dress is fading?