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DIY: Extend the Season with Autumn Color


DIY: Extend the Season with Autumn Color

October 11, 2012

Here are some suggestions, via Scotts Miracle-Gro, for adding color to the fall garden:

For many gardeners, this time of year is something to be cherished. Dahlias, rudbeckias, and scabious show no signs of slowing down; vegetable gardens are still churning out heaps of zucchini, tomatoes, and beans. But what we are enjoying really, is the abundance of late summer—and that season has already packed its bags. The new arrival is just as wonderful, if a little strange, so embrace autumn and make it a memorable visit.

One of the easiest ways to avoid being caught out when the nasturtiums turn to mush is to have some pots planted up, from now on in. Pots can be pleasantly distracting when everything else is in a state of collapse, and the mobility of a flowerpot is a bonus. Containers have got to be kept simple to have any effect.

Above: One type of plant per pot doesn’t quite do it in autumn, so it’s a good idea to consider a few key elements. A flower, an evergreen, something waving and something dangling. Something frivolous.

Above: Thyme is a cheerful evergreen, given enough light, and it comes in surprisingly bright colors. Here thymus Doone Valley complements the yellow of the viola, and sprightly pointed ivy spreads more cheer than common ivy, arguably. A 2.5-inch pot of Thyme, Doone Valley is $4.50 from Pantry Garden Herbs.

Above: Iris foetidissima Stinking Gladwynn gives a sense of height in a display that includes heuchera Marmalade and black viola. It will also provide red berries later on. For more movement, try a tufty-topped grass for shimmering in the breeze while reflecting the lower rays from the sun (panicum virgatum pictured top). A 4-inch pot of Heuchera Marmalade, available seasonally, is $9.95 from Annie’s Annuals.

Above: For potted plants, Miracle-Gro Potting Mix feeds plants for up to 6 months and grows plants twice as big (versus unfed plants).

Above: Decorative kale is both frivolous and formal. Try it with one other element: a circle of kale entwining a standard or topiarized evergreen for instance, or partnered with a mismatched herb, like rosemary. Don’t give it the full works. A 4-inch pot of Emperor White Flowering Kale is $1.49 from The Garden Gates.

Above: Miracle-Gro® LiquaFeed® Advance™ All Purpose Plant Feeding System Starter Kit allows you to feed and water your plants at the same time. The Feeder automatically distributes the right amount of nutrients to your plants at an even steady rate.

Above: When considering autumn planting for the open garden, why not follow the idea of garden rooms? In a corner of the garden dedicated to autumn there are so many elements to choose from to provide a refreshingly autumnal–as opposed to late summery—upper and middle story. Crab apple, espaliered pear, euonymus, sorbus, acer, katsura would be perfect to plant under or around.

For shrubs: late, purple hydrangea, cotinus, viburnum opulus, and the hips of certain roses like rosa Moyesii and rugosa. A beech hedge looks fiery before donning its winter uniform of dead leaves and pyracantha, the firethorn, flames away with its vivid berries for months.

Above: Cheer up a herb garden with an autumn planting of violas and fresh thyme to complement the established evergreen of bay, rosemary, or sage. Foliage of dianthus in the foreground here.

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