This past Saturday ushered in a new season of gardening. To my mind, the Fall season brings a bit of sadness for me. I wake to darkness and have far less sunlight to spend in my gardens. My husband laughs at me, but I swear the air takes on a different scent. My preparation for the change in season begins with reading the Old Farmer’s Almanac predictions. This year they are predicting “cooler than normal in the northeast, near normal rainfall and a chance of snowfall before Halloween”. So we may be looking at snow versus frost on the pumpkins next month. for more information about weather predictions check out:https://www.almanac.com/weather
Amid the browning leaves of my black eyed Susan and spent flowers of my day lily I do have a few solid fall performers that give me pause to stop and smile. This seasons warmth and rain helped a few of my perennials send off late season blooms. One surprise was my Pacific blue delphinium. This week my plant is boasting a nice full bloom along with another emerging bud head. I just hope the bloom beats the frost!
The compact asters I planted last fall are taking on nice purple and pink blooms. Asters are solid Fall perennial performers in our region adding nice color and texture to mum and kale combinations. I can’t say enough about my sedums this season. Known for their drought tolerance, they performed beautifully during the early dry portion of our summer. The late season rain/tropical-like conditions encouraged the robust growth and brilliant shades of red gracing my fall garden. My ornamental grass varieties are sprouting their “flower heads” from lacy to feathery, they pop out of the lower plant growth giving me height and texture throughout the Fall. Sturdy Montauk daisies give an upright leaf texture and are just beginning to bloom.
Careful selection of trees and shrubs can also yield texture and interest to your Fall garden. My Anna Magnolia sets off a few late season blooms before the frost. Winterberries are showing off their bright red berries while my hydrangeas show off their color transition from white to pink to red. I make sure I cut a few to dry and use for indoor interest during our long winter months. I had the opportunity to try out a dwarf Rose of Sharon variety: Lil Kim from Proven Winners. I used it as a container plant. It continues to produce an abundance of full white blossoms into the Fall. For more information on this variety go to:https://www.provenwinners.com/plants/hibiscus/lil-kim-rose-sharon-hibiscus-syriacus
Although calendar signals the end of my 2018 garden season, well chosen plant varieties can offer garden smiles right through the first frosty nights in our region. As always keeping common sense and sustainability at the core of all my garden practices!