Annuals · Container Gardening · Garden Design · Garden Musings · Perennials · Shrubs · Trees

Walk through Cantigny Gardens with me.

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Needing some fall color therapy, I headed over to Cantigny Park before work earlier this week. The autumn splendor of the gardens was magical.

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Just outside the Visitors Center, majestic trees in orange and yellow offered a glimpse of what the gardens had to offer. A squirrel photo bombed!

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The symmetrical design of mums, flowering cabbage, pansies, ornamental peppers and purple fountain grass was befitting in this long rectangular concrete planter.

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Shrubs and perennials flaunted their fall finery. The needle-like foliage of Amsonia hubrechtii glowed in yellow while oakleaf hydrangeas showed off shades of bronze and scarlet.

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The weeping crabapple beckoned me to enter the Octagon Garden where tropical plants hadn’t seemed to notice recent cool temperatures.

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Everywhere I turned another view took my breath away.

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The fountain, like the life of a party, demanded attention with its obvious, resonant beauty while the gazebo flirted silently beyond.

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The ornamental grasses were in their autumnal glory.

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The garden designers fashioned gorgeous combinations. These were some of my favorites.

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My favorite part of the morning at Cantigny Park was discovering Eupatorium capillifolium as it swayed poetically in the morning breezes. I had never seen this plant before and couldn’t wait learn more about it.

Commonly called elegant feather, elegant plume and dog fennel, it belongs to the same family as my beloved Joe-pye weed and is native to the southeastern United States. The bad news is it is not hardy in my area. The good news is it is not hardy in my area.

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I learned this beauty has its flaws. It throws its seeds with abandon and also forms colonies by spreading underground roots in Zones 7 to 10.

If it won’t survive the winter in my garden, I could grow it from seed, enjoy its feathery wands of foliage, and let winter strike it down eliminating attempts to overthrow my garden, right?

Now I just have to find seeds. Do any of my friends in the southeastern U.S. have some? Has anyone ever seen them for sale? Do any of my industry colleagues have sources?

What new plants did you discover this past year? Share them and then garden with me!

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