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Fall Planting Tips: Color Interest for All Seasons

The color and the delicacy of flowers inspire us in every season. As winter fades, for example, even when leaves haven’t yet appeared on the trees, blasts of color from Crocuses, Daffodils, and Tulips lift our spirits.

The best time to plant the bulbs that will raise up such spring glory is just around the corner — late October to early November. However, you might want to first ensure there’s color and textural interest right now.

For tips on how to ensure color for all seasons, Deck and Patio’s own Marc Wiener, ASLA, Director of Sales and Construction, offers some key planting tips:

 

Why Fall is the Best Time of Year to Plant:

Foreground: Purple Allium Sphaerocephalon

Foreground: Purple Allium Sphaerocephalon

Fall is the ideal time to plant trees, shrubs, and perennials when floras slowly begin their dormancy process. “They require less watering because the temperatures are cooler during the day and overnight,” says Marc.

“In addition, watering is typically less because they are using less energy to push foliage and roots; although the first two weeks are critical to ensure they get proper watering to ‘heal’ themselves in for the winter.”

 

Adding Fall Annual Color Interest Right Now

Hardy Mums outside The Deck and Patio Design Center

Hardy Mums outside The Deck and Patio Design Center

 

Decorative Peppers (Photo Hicks Nursery)

Decorative Peppers (Photo Hicks Nursery)

“Many of us use annuals to provide color when certain plants are no longer in bloom,” says Marc.  “Kale, Cabbage, Decorative Peppers, Mums, Cyclamen, etc. are great color producers for fall and will last well into several frosts before dying back to the ground.”

Marc adds that it’s important to add compost to these plants so they get plenty of food while they are blooming. If you are planting cold hardy mums, they require water every other day as they have profuse flowers and use up a lot of energy and will require additional watering if there’s isn’t sufficient rainfall.

 

Housekeeping Your Plants

Photo: Berkshire Botanical Garden http://bit.ly/1KWYPW2

Photo: Berkshire Botanical Garden http://bit.ly/1KWYPW2

“Early fall is also a good time to prune your plants,” says Marc. “Be careful not to prune too late into the fall as frost can damage the stems that have been cut if they haven’t calloused over — inadvertently causing the tree and/or shrub to not bloom or have significant die back.”

 

Planting Bulbs in Fall for a Beautiful Spring

Parrot Tulips

Parrot Tulips

Bulbs are a inexpensive solution in providing very early color in your garden beginning in early March through late mid-June.

“The best time for planting bulbs is late October, early November,” says Marc. “Bulbs, such as Daffodils, Tulips, Hyacinths, Allium, Crocus, Lilies, etc. all add their own unique color, texture, height, sun and shade tolerance; and some have fragrance (i.e. – Hyacinths),”  says Marc.

He adds that how you install bulbs is probably the most important aspect of ensuring they flower in the following spring. “Each type of bulb has it’s own specified planting depth and spacing. It is extremely important that you follow this rule (see following depths) — if not, the bulbs will not flower or may not leaf out. In addition, the pointy tip of the bulb must be planted straight up; otherwise the bulb will definitely not perform as intended.

Planting Depths for Spring Bulbs

Alliums: 8 inches

Crocus: 3 inches

Daffodil: 6 inches

Hyacinth: 7 inches

Tulips: 6 inches

 

Hyacinths

Hyacinths

 

Tulips

Tulips

 

Thanks to Marc Wiener, Deck and Patio’s Director of Sales and Landscape Construction,  for his tips today!

 

Marc Wiener, ASLA

Marc Wiener, ASLA

 

(Note: All photos are by The Deck and Patio Company except where indicated.)

 

 

 

How Are You Using Fall’s Harvest For Outdoor Displays?

When it comes to Fall’s bounty, Mother Nature’s harvest — rich with gorgeous plants, fruits, vegetables and even berries — is perfect for decorating yards and front door entries.

For ideas in what makes the best outdoor displays, we spoke with horticulture buyer Alison Caldwell at Hicks Nurseries (Westbury, Long Island).

“Come Fall, it’s all about hardy mums, winter pansies, and ornamental grasses such as Maiden Grass or Fountain Grass,” she says. “Also, switch grasses start to set their seed heads about now and get a great Fall color.”

Caldwell adds that grouping interesting plants together in combo planters present a bigger punch of color and interest: beauties like Montauk daisies, with their white petals and yellow centers, hardy mums (also ideal for mass plantings on their own), and ornamental peppers. Of course, cabbages and kale are great options, which she says can last all through winter, if the weather isn’t too bad.

“Changing out your petunias or other summer annuals with Fall colors offers a great welcome at your front door,” says Caldwell. “Mums are ideal for this. It’s also common for people to decorate their mail posts with corn stalks or add hay bales around.”

Other tips: wheat sheaves can look great on an entry door, pumpkins in different colors can be mounded together in a planter on the veranda, or, if you’re crafty, you can make a wreath of small gourds and autumn berries for your door.

Post (here or on Facebook) your own ideas for using Fall’s harvest to decorate outdoors.

 

 

Outdoor Decorating for Fall:

Outdoor Decorating for Fall:

Believe it or not, the pumpkin is not a vegetable — it’s a fruit, and a berry at that! Along with hardy mums in bright yellow, at Deck and Patio’s design center in Huntington Station, we’ve added lots of these Fall “berries” for pops of bright orange.

 

 

 

Fall Decorating-Mums the Word: (Photo: Hicks Nurseries)

Fall Decorating-Mums the Word: (Photo: Hicks Nurseries)

At Hicks Nurseries, mums are on great display. Because of their hearty color, they catch the eye at a distance as well as close up. Consider grouping them in only one or two colors for the most impact.

 

 

Grouping Fall Plants: For this nice grouping, cabbage, deep red mums, and winter pansies make a bright, bold statement. (Photo: Hicks Nurseries)

Grouping Fall Plants: For this nice grouping, cabbage, deep red mums, and winter pansies make a bright, bold statement. (Photo: Hicks Nurseries)

 

 

Decorating for Fall:

Decorating for Fall:

Outside our design center, we have waterfalls flowing from a stream. Deck and Patio added white, yellow and orange mums along its banks. The full bush of green leaves shown at the top of the yellow mums is a marginal aquatic plant — the clump-forming Iris Versicolor.

 

 

Ornamental Peppers (Photo: Hicks Nurseries)

Ornamental Peppers (Photo: Hicks Nurseries)

Aren’t these ornamental peppers beauties! Grown for their decorative value, although edible, they are rather lacking in flavor, as are the leaves and flowers of the deep red Celosia Cristata (aka cockscomb) behind them.

 

 

 

Cabbage and Kale (Photo: Hicks Nurseries)

Cabbage and Kale (Photo: Hicks Nurseries)

Believed to be one of the world’s healthiest foods, kale and its looser central leaves is really cabbage that doesn’t form a head. Ornamental kale is ideal for your Fall garden; with its sister cabbage, they reach their best color when it gets cold. Note: ornamental kale isn’t quite as tasty as the supermarket kind, so best leave it in the garden.

 

Have a great day!

Have a great day!

Wishing everyone happy gardening from The Deck and Patio Company, Huntington Station, NY!