It is difficult to believe that Autumn has arrived! I love the fall, I really do…it is so crisp and pretty. It would be a nearly perfect season if only it did not precipitate the winter! Oh well…nothing is perfect in life. It is always amazing to me how things that look perfect at one point in the year instantly look out-of-place once their season has passed (sort of like Thanksgiving decorations in December). Such is definitely the case with summer flowers. The same flowers which were just glorious only a month ago now begin to look overgrown and ratty. When this happens, it is time to make way for your fall plantings. Here are some tips:
- Unless you live in a warmer climate, be sure to choose hardy species that can withstand the cooler temperatures. Great choices include: mums, decorative cabbages and ornamental kale.
- Plant early enough to extend your fall plantings “shelf life”. I find that it is generally best to do my fall planting by no later than mid-September…the weather is still mild enough, in much of the northeast, so that your plants can survive for a longer period of time.
- Plant heavily with your kale and cabbage. In my experience, I have found that my kale and cabbage plants generally last into December, while my mums are typically dead by late October to early November. For many years I would opt for colorful mums interspersed with the less colorful kale and cabbages. The issue? After the mums had died, my garden would appear barren. Now I tend to plant very heavily with the non-flowering plants and I just tuck in a mum here and there for a “pop” of color.
- Go for textures. You will notice that I have chosen different varieties of plants in order to maximize the visual interest of my garden. I have incorporated plants of different heights, colors and textures to draw the eye. I try to lay them out in such a way that makes sense to the eye (for example, using two alternating varieties to form a garden border…see below).
- Accessorize for a little pop! Use pumpkins, indian corn and faux leaf garlands (you will see below that I have wrapped one of these around my mailbox post) to add a little color.
- Have fun!!! After all, that is the entire point! Put up a scarecrow, a hay bale or a harvest sign (all of these can be purchased for a very reasonable sum at your local craft store).