This is a Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ and my sure-fire way of detecting Autumn’s presence among us. The plant grows through Spring and Summer in our garden, but it is Autumn where the Sedum changes color from green to pinkish red. It is my first wake up call that most things in our garden are now in their final stages and our appreciation of all things green is rapidly coming to a close with Winter only a few months away.
Autumn starts a new season of flowers and blooms, second in spectacle only to Spring. Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ stalks appear in Spring and its flower heads form in July. The flat corymbs that it produces look like broccoli until they change color. In September on Glen Road, the flowers start to color up, turning a pinkish red. Slowly the flowers turn red, and late in Autumn, the flowers on the Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ turn a deeper rusty-red. When frost finally takes the final life out of the Sedum, we cut it completely to the ground and say goodbye until the coming Spring. I have read that many people do not cut the spent blooms away at frost time because of its great Winter appeal against the back drop of white snow.
Th Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ is an excellent plant for those places you just don’t water often. It is very drought tolerant and will turn a lighter shade of color if given too much water. Plant where the Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ will see a lot of sunshine as the leaves can actually turn floppy with too much shade.
The coloring to pinkish red on the Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ is always a wake up call to begin Autumn chores. When I see it change color, I think about getting Winter clothes out of storage, making sure the rakes can be found for leaf clean up and scheduling out our garden clean-up dates on my calendar. From a gardener perspective, it makes me sad in a way to know that the garden will be leaving us for a while, but at the same time, this break is appreciated after a long season of planting and weeding. As much as it reminds me that the garden is going to go away to re-energize for another season, it also reminds me of the fact that I too need this re-energizing period of time before I begin to think about my garden in 2012. What things happen where you live that signal that Autumn is here?