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Keeping big fall perennials in bounds

Lavender and purple blossoms with vining green foliage on a black gate.
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If you plan to grown Virgin's Blower clematis, ensure you have a sturdy structure like a pergola or fence. This climbing fall perennial vine grows quite large with abundant flowers.

Black-eyed Susans and clematis are late summer stars in the garden, with their showy blooms and hardy foliage. They can also get really out of hand and grow too large! We'll learn new varieties to try and how to keep them in bounds.

As late summer slides all too quickly into early fall, enjoy perennial blooms like rudbeckia, clematis and macleaya cordata.

These perennials are at their peak right now without some care, can grow a bit out of bounds!

Three varieties of these fall blooms do well here and won't get out of control.

Try the rudbeckia variety called, Golden Glow. This fall perennial, also commonly known as cone flower and Black-eyed Susan, was once known as the "privy plant."

That's because prior to indoor plumbing, the pioneers used to plant this around outhouses for privacy! it flowered late in the season can grow to six feet tall.

Golden Glow also waves in the breeze like an ornamental grass, but it does flop over. Try planting it against a wall, fence or trellis.

Another type of macleya to try is called plume poppy. It boasts green, fig-leaf-like foliage and grows six to seven feet tall with white plume flowers.

Planting this in your garden can create great contrast to your other late summer and early fall blooms.

A word of caution about both of these plants: rudbeckia and plume poppy spread very aggressively. Pull them out in the spring so they don't take over the universe.

The third fall perennial to try is actually a vine. Clematis XXX is considered invasive and is very aggressive and seeds everywhere.

More on clematis from Charlie Nardozzi and Vermont Public: A Perennial Climbing Vine You Can Bring Indoors This Winter

Instead try the Virgin's Bower or clematis virginiana. That's the native version of it and is no less strong a grower but it doesn't become an invasive.

Virgin's Bower grows white flowers that will be blooming in clusters very soon on a hardy vine. Make sure you plant it near a structure like a pergola to kind of keep it in bounds. You can cut it way back and it'll do the same thing again next year.

Johnathan in Norwich has a question about spurge weed.
Johnathan, in Norwich asks: "I have noticed over the last couple of years in my garden, a new weed sort of becoming a little more prominent. Maybe euphorbia maculata or euphorbia prostrata. And what I'm wondering is how much of a problem it is as opposed to possibly being beneficial as a living mulch?"

Johnathan, in Norwich asks: "I have noticed over the last couple of years in my garden, a new weed sort of becoming a little more prominent. Maybe euphorbia maculata or euphorbia prostrata. And what I'm wondering is how much of a problem it is as opposed to possibly being beneficial as a living mulch?"

Spurge weed is the common name for a common weed, euphorbia. It likes full sun and well-drained soil and has a tap root. Euphorbia is considered an annual and it self sows, and that's how it spreads.

Experiment by using it as a ground cover! First, find a plant that's flowering and collect some of the seed or even just pull the plant up while it's flowering. Put the seed in a certain area in a shrub border or perennial flower border and see if it starts growing. Not all plants are weeds, especially if you find a good use for them!

All Things Gardening is powered by you, the listener! Send your gardening questions and conundrums and Charlie may answer them in upcoming episodes.

You can also leave a voicemail with your gardening question by calling Vermont Public at 1-800-639-2192.

Hear All Things Gardening during Weekend Edition Sunday with Vermont Public host Mary Engisch, Sunday mornings at 9:35.

Have questions, comments or tips? Send us a message or get in touch by tweeting us @vermontpublic. We've closed our comments. Read about ways to get in touch here.

Mary Williams Engisch is a local host on All Things Considered, Weekend Edition Saturday and Weekend Edition Sunday.
Charlie Nardozzi is a nationally recognized garden writer, radio and TV show host, consultant, and speaker. Charlie is the host of All Things Gardening on Sunday mornings at 9:35 during Weekend Edition on VPR. Be part of the fun and send your gardening questions here, for Charlie to answer on the air. Plus, find lots of great gardening tips and information for all seasons here. For more gardening information, check out Charlie's website, Gardening with Charlie Nardozzi. Charlie is a guest on VPR's Vermont Edition during the growing season. He also offers garden tips on local television and is a frequent guest on national programs.