Sandra Mason: A fall beauty

Sandra Mason: A fall beauty

My fellow University of Illinois Extension horticulture educator Martha Smith shares her thoughts about Honorine Jobert: "This white-flowering lady comes with a long history of gracing fall landscapes since having been discovered in the garden of M. Jobert in Verdum, France in 1858," Smith said. "At a time when new plant cultivars are introduced every season, Honorine Jobert has been a fall highlight in European gardens since before the American Civil War and is still the most popular and highly sought after white anemone today. Honorine Jobert surely earns the title heirloom perennial, having remained a staple in the fall garden for 157 years."

The Perennial Plant Association members nominate a slate of perennials every year and vote to select the Perennial Plant of the Year.

This fall beauty grows best in organically rich, evenly moist, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade with protection from wind. Soils should not be allowed to dry out as foliage tends to burn in hot, dry locations. Avoid wet, poorly drained soils, especially in late winter. Japanese anemone may seem slow to establish, but, once comfortable can meander.

Fall is often a neglected season in many flower gardens as the colors of spring and summer are past. It's a welcome addition to have flowers fresh and new as others fade into fall.

Our flower gardens would be better to take a lesson from the prairies with their late season explosions. Fall weather is great for growing perennials — warm days and cool nights. Roots are actively growing, and water stress is low. The fall colors of our trees and shrubs offer fantastic backdrops to some of our favorite fall blooming perennial combinations.

Just like your favorite white shirt, Honorine Jobert goes with everything! Try pairing with grasses such as Little Bluestem and Northwind Switchgrass (POY 2014) for height, and place Purple Dome Aster in front.

Another great combination for a shady spot would be Golden Hakone grass (Hakonechloa macra Aureola — POY 2009) to pick up color echoes from the yellow center of Honorine Jobert, and add the bright blue flowers of leadwort (Ceratostigma plumbaginoides) with its later red fall colors for a great season extender.

"Try Honorine Jobert," Smith said. "It's a perennial that has truly stood the test of time, adding beauty and elegance to our fall gardens.

Gardening seminar

From 6 to 9 p.m. Thursday at the Beef House in Covington, Ind., the annual Gardening Seminar will be held. The event is sponsored by the UI Extension and Purdue University Extension. Registration costs $20 and includes a buffet dinner. Topics will include vegetable gardening in small spaces and edible landscaping, choices and challenges.

Mason is unit educator, horticulture and environment, for the UI Extension, Champaign, Ford, Iroquois and Vermilion counties. Contact her at 801 N. Country Fair Drive, Champaign, IL 61821, call 217-333-7672, email or fax 217-333-7683.

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