Planting Perennials in Fall
Learn the gardening basics of fall planting and find out why this is a prime season for gardening.
By Sally Roth [The Gardening Basics to Late Bloomers]
Flowers by Month
By Debbie Vasen
Link at: http://garden.lovetoknow.com/wiki/Flowers_by_Month
Identify Those Pesky Weeds...
If your weeds grow to the point of flowering, be sure you pull or cut them before the flowers turn to seed. Lambsquarter, one of the most common annual weeds, produces up to 72,000 seeds per plant. Pigweed produces 117,000 seeds, while black nightshade produces a whopping 178,000 seeds per plant. - See more at: http://www.pcgazette.com/Content/Default/Commentary/Article/War-on-weeds-Start-early-so-you-can-enjoy-gardening-rest-of-season/
...and Put Up With Them During Drought
Put drought on your side by depriving weeds of water. Placing drip or soaker hoses
beneath mulch efficiently irrigates plants while leaving nearby weeds thirsty. In most
climates, depriving weeds of water reduces weed-seed germination by 50 to 70
percent. Watch out, though, for the appearance of deeply rooted perennial weeds, such
as bindweed and nutsedge, in areas that are kept moist. They can take off in a flash
when given the benefits of drip irrigation. Beyond these strategies, enriching your soil
with organic matter every chance you get can move your garden along down the weed-
free path. Soil scientists aren’t sure how it works, but fewer weed seeds germinate in
soil that contains fresh infusions of good compost or organic
ORNAMENTAL GARDENING TIPS
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Why should spring get all the glory? While you might not think of fall as a time to get outside and plant new perennials, it actually presents a golden opportunity to do just that. Not only is it bargain time for many perennials at the garden store, the growing conditions are perfect for establishing roots.
In autumn the garden’s peak is fresh in your mind, so it’s easy to remember where you need to add some pizzazz. Remember that dead spot you noticed in midsummer? How about the garden bed that needs a splash of yellow or blue? Now is the time to address those areas.
Time It Right
In Zones 6 and 7, the cool-down period starts around the end of September, about six weeks before the first fall frost. This is the ideal time to start your fall plants. In Zones 3 to 5, you’ll want to plant earlier if you can. And of course, Zones 8 to 11 can pretty much plant year-round without a problem. (Lucky!) Still, you want to get an early start to give roots time to get established.
Gardening Basics to Picking Up a Bargain
At the end of the season, you can find big discounts on plants that have passed their peak. Most sellers knock down prices fast when their perennials go out of bloom, and lower them even more when the plants start looking down and out. Expect to find perennials at 50 percent or even 75 percent off. Keep in mind that the longer you wait for deals, the smaller the selection and the less time you have to get plants established.
Save It from Death Row
You know that section in the bargain area that’s super cheap, and it’s not hard to tell why? I call it death row, and it’s actually where I head first in hopes of finding a steal. The plants often look pitiful or even near death, but some are still worth a shot. If it’s wilted, generally sad looking or has yellowing or dying foliage, but the right price, grab it—as long as there’s still some green and it’s not diseased.
Don’t Fret about Frost
Frost might seem like your biggest fall planting challenge, but it’s actually not a huge problem. Yes, frost will kill the tops of your new plants, but it won’t affect the root growth. The roots will grow until the soil freezes solid, which is often weeks or even months after the first frost hits. In temperate regions—everywhere but the far North and the high mountains—soil usually doesn’t freeze until after Thanksgiving.
Grow the Roots
In spring the soil is cold, so the roots of newly planted perennials grow slowly. In fall the soil is warm, so roots grow faster. Since the plants don’t produce flowers, they have more energy for sending vigorous roots into the soil of their new home. Do your part by planting new perennials in good soil and watering thoroughly. By the time the growing season rolls around again, they’ll be happily settled.
Give ’Em a Fighting Chance
Once you get your bargain plants home, the first order of business is to give them a thorough drink. Set them in a tray or saucer to catch the water that pours through the potting mix, and let them take their time soaking it up. Then proceed as if they were the healthiest plants in the world. Lower temperatures and shorter days mean plants need less water, but if rain is scarce, water them weekly until the soil freezes. Remember that, under the ground, those roots are still growing.
Put Them to Bed
Wait until the soil freezes hard, then spread a few inches of mulch around your perennials—not to prevent soil from freezing, but to keep it from thawing. Roots that aren’t solidly anchored can “frost heave” out of the soil when the ground freezes and thaws, putting the plant in danger of getting killed by cold. Once mulch is on, you’re all set. Even if a few of your new perennials don’t make it, you’re probably still coming out ahead. Fall planting gives you a big jump on spring gardening, so you have more time in the busy season.
Uncovering the perfect arrangement of flowers by month ensures a glorious garden year-round. Although the exact timing of blooms does vary slightly by zone and micro-climate, this article will outline general guidelines for color in your garden all year long. Each variety of plant, shrub, or tree listed here will have a different bloom time dependent on your home's weather patterns. Once you have developed a basis in your yard, contact your local nursery or our zone guide listing for which specific species will thrive in your area.
Some Months Offer More Blooms, Some Less
The easiest time of year for flowers by month is through mid-spring and early summer. This is a time of abundant blooms in all climate zones. For many areas the toughest time to find color in your yard is the colder months. Some of the coldest areas may need to look to indoor plants for their wintertime color. Houseplants in the coldest seasons and annuals in the hottest are great transition plants to help maintain the consistency of your flowers by month.
In summary, look for the following plants to fill your yard with year-round blooms and follow the links to specific articles on each plant type.
In most zones, January is a barren month in the garden. If you are lucky enough to have a greenhouse or even a sunny window, this month is an excellent time to savor indoor garden blooms. Another way to add color to a January garden is through ornamental plants known for their bare beauty such as the red and yellow-stemmed dogwoods or through the depth of evergreen shrubs. In addition, the following plants are known for a wintertime show of flowers:
Amaryllis - indoors
Additional Forced Bulbs Indoors
Even though it is a time when most of us are ready for spring, February is a reminder of the hardships of winter. Often a month of turmoil in the skies, many plants are content to stay hidden until February storms have past. A few options for February blooms:
Oregon Grape Holly
Days finally seem longer and the official equinox is upon us, but still the garden has yet to completely awaken.
April is often a torturous month for the dedicated gardener. When the sun shines, it can be glorious and flowery, but then the rain will hit and pour down on all the new spring glory.
The height of the year for flowers is certainly the month of May.
Summer is coming and you can hear it in the trees and flowers abound.
Although the glory days of spring have passed, the garden still has many blooms to offer.
St John's Wort
In many areas the true heat of summer hits and often enjoying the outdoors becomes sweaty and uncomfortable. Instead, spend your evenings in the yard or do your garden chores early as the sun rises.
Chinese Abelia Bush
The colors of September are the beginnings of golds, yellows, and reds. First the flowers and then the trees will quickly follow suit.
For many outdoorsy individuals, October is a true month of joy - cooler nights and bright sunny days, while still the glory of fall blooms.
The beginning of death in the garden, November is often the toughest month to find flowers in bloom. Consider adding the following to your home and yard to help color the drab of this month:
African Violets - indoors
A festive, busy time indoors, often the garden gets over looked in December. Although, in many zones there are still some plants to offer up a flower or two.
Poinsettia - indoors