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Fall Outdoor Season: Color It Autumn

Many of us in the northeast retreat very reluctantly to a winter spent indoors. We make every effort to extend the outdoor season with the addition of fire pits, outdoor fireplaces, hot tubs, some even adding a four-season room.

4-Season Room

4-Season Room

Outdoor Fireplace

Outdoor Fireplace

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So its natural that when we see the first leaf turn from green to crimson high in a backyard tree, we know we’re heading into the last outdoor living sprint. The subject today is: how can we make this precious outdoor living time richly colorful for the maximum enjoyment?

Outdoor Displays

One way to make the outdoors inviting is by displaying some of fall’s bounty: gorgeous plants, fruits, vegetables and even berries — all perfect for decorating yards and front door entries.

“Annuals provide color when certain plants are no longer in bloom,” says Deck and Patio’s Dave Stockwell.  “Great color producers for fall that last well into several frosts before dying back to the ground include kale, cabbage, decorative peppers, mums, cyclamen, etc.”

It’s also important to add compost to these plants so they get plenty of food while they are blooming, says Dave. 

“Cold hardy mums, for example, require water every other day as they have copious flowers and use up a lot of energy and will require additional watering if there’s isn’t sufficient rainfall. But what a cheerful display these fruits and plants offer.”

 

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, etc., at Deck and Patio’s design center in Huntington Station we love displaying lots of these fall ‘berries’ for pops of bright orange.

 

Grouping Fall Plants:

Grouping Fall Plants:

 

 

For different texture and color, it’s a good idea to create a grouping of fall plants. This nice grouping includes cabbage, deep red mums, and winter pansies for a bright, bold statement. (Photo: Hicks Nurseries)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ornamental Peppers

Ornamental Peppers

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.  (Photo: Hicks Nurseries)

 

Planning Ahead for Fall Color

Fall can be a great time to plant color for future autumn glory. Here’s two great ideas:

 

Rosehips:

Rosehips:

Rosehips come from plants also known as Autumn Wild Rose. They can enhance any autumn landscape. Note: Since they can take three years to grow from seeds, you’ll probably want to transplant a grown bush. This is done during the dormant season — sometime between November through February.

This beautiful plant is a wildflower with bright red fruit hips that ripen in fall — and stay around through winter. The rose hips grow as the petals of the summer flowers drop off. These hips contain the seeds of the rose. Prune the bushes down to the ground in winter and then wait. When the temperature warms again in spring, they begin to regrow. By summer, you have wild roses, and in fall, you get the rose hips again.

 

Sumac:

Sumac:

When we recommend a great plant for fall color, we emphasize ones that are interesting throughout the year. With Sumac shrubs and trees, their displays begin with large flower clusters in spring, gorgeously colored fall foliage (as seen here) with berries that can last into winter. 

Any well-drained soil works for this adaptable plant. It can take full sun or partial shade. Note: for the most dramatic fall colors, the flame leaf or prairie sumac have the best flowers and color when planted in full sun.  

 

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!