It’s over.
That’s the feeling I get in fall, when the heads of the black-eyed Susans and coneflowers turn black, the sun-scalded hosta look tattered and the tomatoes begin to sulk in the cold.
But it’s not over.

The ornamental grasses are at their peak, their silky heads shimmering in the sun and bending in the breeze. Asters bright in pink and purple shine in the garden, and my old friend boltonia, a leggy and anonymous thing just a few weeks ago, has burst in anto eye-catching spray of white blooms.

The U of M mums are blooming, some of them in mounds as big as a shrub. And sweet autumn clematis, which has spent all summer crawling up and over the garden fence, creeping up the arbovitae and reaching with grasping tendrils into nearby perennials, has finally exploded in a mass of tiny white flowers.
I reexamine the garden in autumn. This year I see issues everywhere. Even after a summer of renovation, I have some major reworking to do next spring. But I won’t forget the fall flowers when I begin tearing things out. They remind us that autumn in the garden isn’t an end at all, but a beautiful bridge to a new gardening year.
Do you have a favorite autumn plant?