As we wade into the late summer the chances are pretty good that you spring garden is looking a bit tired.  This is not unusual and it certainly is not a reflection on you, the gardener.  Late summer and early fall provide a great opportunity for all of us to plant something new that will provide colour later in the season, long after the peonies and day lilies have come and gone.

Top of my list is rudbeckia.  Imagine a perennial flowering plant that blooms for 10 weeks.  Say what?  Yup.  When gas stations are planting perennials you want to pay attention as they are only interested in the best show for the least amount of work: their business after all is to sell gas, not create great gardens.  

I also like butterfly bush, which [sadly] is only reliably winter hardy to zone 6 [Toronto] and in my zone 5 garden I often lose them over winter.  That does not mean that they should be overlooked as a late flowering addition to your garden.  Even if you treat them like an annual you can be happy with your investment as no other plant attracts butterflies and hummingbirds to your garden quite like them.  They are fragrant too, so plant a few around your porch where you can enjoy their fragrance.

New England asters are fool proof and hardy to zone 4 (Ottawa / Montreal) and they are native.  Not only that but this perennial flowering plants is widely available in the colour blue, which is rare in most other species.