01 Sep Great New Looks for Fall Color
Think past the traditional mum to add some great new looks for fall color to your landscape. Fall is a glorious time of year. The countryside is virtually exploding with oranges, reds, golds, purples and yellows. Fall is a great time to enjoy the out-of-doors. It is also a great time for fall gardens as summer perennials and annuals fade, fall perennials, grasses and more are coming into their prime.
Most spring planted annuals get a bit ragged about now, having survived through the heat, dry conditions and pests of the summer. This is a good time to freshen up your gardens by introducing some proven winners to your fall landscape. Coincidentally, you’ll probably be around to enjoy your fall garden more than you mid-summer plantings. The weather is more temperate, vacations are over with and kids are back in school.
The traditional fall plant is the mum. Mums are available in a wide range of colors from white to red and everything in between. Available in many sizes, including hanging baskets and large 14″ pots, mums can provide a splash of color in the garden, on the porch or along your walkway. Different varieties bloom at different times throughout the fall so they are normally available at our garden center from late August until late September. Most mums are usually finished blooming before November.
With that it mind here are a few suggestions that are sure to please past the prime mum season. Most of these plants will have strong seasonal interest well into December and ornamental grasses are great all throughout the winter!
Great New Looks for Fall Color
Grasses are a terrific way to add drama to your landscape. Their texture is a perfect foil to rudbeckias, sedums or hardy chrysanthemums. They are extremely easy to grow, durable and can be used in a variety of landscape situations. They are also very attractive when used in containers. Ornamental grasses can range in height from under one foot (Festuca cinerea ‘Elijah Blue’) to well over six feet (Miscanthus sinesis ‘Silver Grass’). Many varieties of the Pennisetum family are gaining in popularity, including alopecuroides, with its enormous tassels through fall and winter and a dwarf fountain grass called ‘Hamelin’. Most varieties send out dramatic spikes of feathery plumes during late summer and early fall. These seed heads add interest to an otherwise stark winter landscape.
Ornamental Cabbage & Kale
Flowering cabbage and kale are fast becoming one of the more popular additions to the fall border. And for good reason…ornamental kale offers dramatic colors and shapes not commonly available in the fall. Brilliant pinks, purples and creamy whites add intrigue whether planted in the landscape or used in containers to accent mums and grasses.
Their fabulous colors are not flowers, but rather rosettes of central leaves. Flowering kales have fringed or serrated leaves that actually gain in color intensity as the weather turns colder. They literally bloom into the winter months! Their vibrant displays will last until the winter temps reach the teens.
Fall Pansies & Violas
This is a great way to extend your color well into November and beyond. While most mums have finished blooming, these guys, with proper maintenance, will flower their heads off. Plant them in drifts, in pots or even tuck a few in to spruce up a tired hanging basket. These cheery faces do especially well with the warm ground temps and cool nights of autumn. They usually will flower through the first couple of hard frosts. Hardier varieties even winter over and provide unexpected delights the following spring. Imagine their deep purples set off against the brilliant pinks of ornamental kale. The nice thing about them is that they look great whether planted in the landscape or potted up for the front door!
Well, those are but a few of many great ways to liven up your fall landscapes. Think beyond the obvious and add these great new looks to provide fall color later into the season.
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Fall is a beautiful time, and after all, fall is for planting.