For season long colour Christine created a smaller bed around a pole to include annuals, vines and the primary perennial is Sedum. This wonderful plant provides beautiful colouring in late fall. Sedums are a large group of fleshy-leaved plants which thrive in hot and dry conditions. They have the ability to cover rocks and walls. Many are rock garden plants but some Sedums known as Ice Plants are grown in the herbaceous border. The flowerheads of the Ice plants are large plates of tiny flowers, their appearance in late summer acting as a magnet for the butterflies in the neighbourhood. These Border Sedums are tough plants, shrugging off drought and pests which would cripple more delicate perennials.
The popular Ice Plant is S. spectabile attaining a height of one to two feet with spacing of about one foot and flowering between August and October. The flowerheads measure four to six inches across and the varieties generally differ in flower colour rather than plant form. Choose from 'Brilliant' (deep Pink), 'Carmen' (rose-red), 'Meteor' (carmine-red), and 'Ruby Glow' (red). There is one variety which does stand out from the others and that is what Christine is growing, the Sedum Autumn Joy. It is tall about two feet and the eight inch heads are salmon pink at first, turning rusty brown in autumn. The leaves also change, becoming brownish purple at the end of summer. The Purple-leaf Ice Plant is S. maximum 'Atropurpureum' attaining a height of two feet with pink flowers and purplish red leaves.
Sedums will thrive in any well drained soil and grow well in full sun. You can divide the Sedum in autumn or spring by digging into the plant and separating large clumps. This is a great way to fill out new beds and also a great saving when some plants fail and you need a hardy specimen to fill the gap.