Plan for Fall Color

Purple dome asters

Nature gives each season a special beauty. In our gardens, we want to capture the highlights. Generally spring and summer are superb. By this time, most gardens are ​

​past their prime. Let's add a little zest to make the final frost free weeks a grand finale.

Color can easily be added to the flowerbed with cool-season annuals. Pansies are the best value. These lovelies keep on producing oodles of flowers until replaced with summer annuals next spring. Ornamental cabbages, kales and even lettuces add interest but won't be around all winter.

Mums are another readily available option. The ones in garden centers now will not survive to bloom another year. Hardy to zone 4, they must be planted in spring to become established perennials. Though the cushioning types are most popular, there are taller varieties which can be coaxed into producing huge blossoms.

Mums come in every color except blue. To add blue to the autumn garden add asters. Also called Michaelmas daisies, they range in height from six-inch mounds to five-foot giants which require staking. For best performance, they need to be pinched back around Memorial Day and again on July 4th. All need to be divided every third year. If not divided, they stop blooming.​

October Skies Asters

Ornamental grasses are boldly beautiful in autumn. Many bloom in late summer, the seed heads remaining throughout winter. Several develop colorful foliage in fall. Useful as they are, grasses need to be cut back in the spring as well as divided every few years.

Options abound to to have a fresh and interesting garden look for fall.

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