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