by Julie Barns, Master Gardner
DESIGN BASICS- REJUVENATE YOUR GARDEN
BY: P. ALLEN SMITH
Autumn doesn't have to mean bedtime for your borders and baskets.
Keep the colors coming with these easy tips?
Fall into creating a new color palette for your garden. Containers are a quick and easy way to add vibrant splashes of color to the
autumn landscape. By rejuvenating your summer containers with fresh plants and adding a few pots filled with great fall
performers, you can bring the spirit of the season to your garden.
Take an inventory. Size up what's growing in your summer garden, evaluate what still looks good, and keep the plants that will
add fall color and interest including ornamental grasses or dark-foliage plants such as 'Blackie' sweet potato vine (Ipomoea batatas
'Blackie'), Persian shield (Strobilanthes dyerianus), and purple heart (Tradescantia pallida). Also, rely on silver foliage plants such as
lambs' ears (Stachys byzantia), 'Powis Castle' artemisia (Artemisia ' Powis Castle'), and dusty miller (Centaurea cineraria) to mix
with fall-blooming plants. Trim back or remove leggy or bug bitten annuals that look a little worn.
Picture a fall palette. Rather than replanting the entire flower bed, use containers filled with fall colors. Make a list of the hues
you'd like to introduce to the garden to complement what you have. If you decorate for fall with pumpkins and gourds, for example,
choose container plants in orange, bronze, yellow, acid green and creamy white. If you have evergreen plants that provide a strong
backdrop, try bright pinks, lavenders, pure whites, or reds. Containers filled with such bold colors can excite even the most drab fall
Give summer containers a fresh face. Next, shift your attention to your existing summer window boxes, hanging baskets, and
pots. Note which plants look like they'll remain vibrant and colorful through the fall and which ones are ready for the compost pile.
List the plants you'll need to add to rejuvenate the containers once the spent plants are removed. Don't toss perennials that are
worn but healthy. Give them a second chance by transplanting them into your flower beds before cold temperatures arrive.
Look for good buys. Late summer and early fall are great times to snap up bargains. Since the growing season is coming to an
end and there's no time to wait for plants to grow into something memorable, purchase full-sized mature plants for your containers.
Using your list of color combos, look for potted plants that will put on a good show as soon as they're planted. Along with the plants,
pick up some pumpkins and gourds to combine with stalks of corn and dried flowers. To get the most for your money, choose cold
tolerant fall plants with striking flowers or foliage. Quite a few varieties will survive a light frost, and some are even capable of
withstanding short periods of temperatures in the teens
Make the transformation. Once the new nursery plants are home, gently remove your current plants from their pots and transplant
them to new containers, keeping as much of the root ball intact as possible. This will give you a chance to create some new seasonal
containers with fresh soil and to easily mix the older plants with the new to create fresh combinations.
Follow the three shape rule. As you create new fall arrangements, follow the three shape rule. In each pot include three basic
forms: tall and spiky, round and full, trailing or cascading. These forms complement one another well and create an appealing
design. Ornamental grasses are good fall choices for the tall and spiky element. Asters, chrysanthemums, and ornamental kale
have round and full forms that help fill out the center of the display while cascading ivy or sweet potato vines can spill over the edge
to soften the arrangement.
To perk up your fall baskets and borders,
Try these 15 autumn favorites:
Aster (Symphyotrichum spp)
Autumn fern (Dryopteris erythrosora)
Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta)
Chrysanthemum (Chrysanthemum spp)
Coral bells (Heuchera spp.)
Dinosaur kale (Brassica oleracea 'Lacinato')
Fireworks' goldenrod (Solidago ruguosa 'Fireworks')
Ivy (Hedera spp)
Million bells (Calibrachoa spp)
Ornamental peppers (Capsicum annum)
Osteospermum (Osteospermum spp)
Pansies (Viola spp)
Purple cabbage (Brassica oleracea)
Salvia (Salvia spp)