What’s In Bloom

18, Oct, 2012 Rose Kennedy Greenway Conservancy

Wondering what those broad sweeps and bright sparks of color are popping up along the Greenway? Those are the asters (symphyotrichums for the more botanical minded of you) striding into action – the consummate, reliable fall bloomer. Asters are a large plant family with composite flowers – star shaped flowers with petals collected around a central disk.

– Aster ‘Purple Dome’ with Busy Bee

We have over 10 species of asters on the Greenway, most of them found in the Wharf and Fort Point Chanel Parks. The masses of Symphyotrichum novae angliae ‘Purple Dome’ are especially noticeable now, and make a great companion to the bright yellow Golden Rod, Solidago rugosum ‘Fireworks’,  that is also blooming prolifically.

– Solidago Fireworks

The prize for over achieving goes to the Anemone x hybrid ‘Whirlwind’ – which is positively gluttonous in its blooms. So heavy now they are tilting and leaning in great clusters, suggesting that given another hard rain, or a few warm days, they will keel over, exhausted from their non -stop, attention getting, display. They have been in bloom since late August and deserve the accolades.

– Anemone x hybrida Whirlwind

I expect the fall foliage, just beginning to show itself in our concrete-warmed inner city, will take over the next “What’s in Bloom”. Today I want to focus on the ornamental grasses throughout the park. These grasses are elegant, textural, soft, graceful, upright and rounded, golden, green, red tinged  and zebra striped.

– Miscanthus sinensis Adagio

My favorites are the great stands of Miscanthus  synensis ‘Adagio’, with silvery white plumes in Chinatown, and the north end of Dewey Square; and Panicums with their airy, delicate, light-catching seed sprays and red tipped leaves. The Panicums, varieties of a north american native, Prairie Switchgrass, are mostly found in the Wharf parks, with a huge new group along Atlantic Ave near the popular Rings Fountain.