Fall Gardening

Fall Gardening

Just because it’s fall doesn’t mean that it’s time to close up the garden for the season. Fall gardening can really bring your gardens to life and provide a beautiful addition to your landscape.  Many flowers bloom in fall, especially those with the warmer colors of yellow, orange and red. Certain trees in the garden put forth their most brilliant foliage in the fall as well. Following are some flowers that really show out later in the growing season and some tips on how to arrange them to make the fall garden look its best.


 Anemone

Fall Anemone

Also called the windflower, this plant has a long blossoming season. It first puts forth its cup-shaped flowers in the spring and keeps blooming into the fall. The flowers come in colors of cream, white, red, purple or blue. The anemone prefers well-drained, fertile soil and does best in partial shade to full sun.


 Milkweed

Milkweed

I have wrote about milkweed in the past.  This flower is notorious for being the host of the monarch butterfly and its relatives. It produces clusters of flowers in brilliant shades of yellow, orange or rose. But the interest doesn’t end there. After the flowers drop, they’re followed by pods that split open and release silky seeds that are blown about by the wind. Milkweed flowers are great for flower arrangements. Even the pods are used in arrangements when they are dried.


 Hardy Begonia

Hardy Begonia

The hardy begonia bears delicate, inch long, pink or white flowers at the ends of red stems from early summer until frost. The leaves are large, hairy and have a reddish underside and red veins. Hardy begonia can be planted in full sun in cooler areas, but it needs partial shade in climates whose summers are dry and hot. It does best in moist, fertile, loamy soil.


 Boltonia

Boltonia

Boltonia produces masses of white, pink or lilac daisy-shaped flowers that persist for a month or longer. Because of their long life, boltonia flowers are often used in bouquets for fall weddings. It grows from three to six feet high and should be planted in full sun. Stake the taller plants to keep them from drooping over.


 Bellflower

bellflower, bluebells

Also called campanula, this flower grows well from hardiness zones 3 through 9. It gets its name from its bell-shaped flowers, which come in shades of blue, violet, white or purple. Some types of bellflower grow to only six inches high and make excellent ground covers or a specimen for a rock garden. Other varieties grow as high as five feet. Bellflower likes full sun to light shade and well-drained soil.


 Chrysanthemum

Chrysanthemum

There are hundreds of cultivars of this beloved flower, and though the flowerheads vary, they are usually a central flower disk surrounded by ray-shaped petals. Chrysanthemums come in every color but blue and are treasured for flower arrangements. They like fertile, well-drained, loamy soil, and thrive in full sun to partial shade.  These little flowers are a perfect fit for fall gardening.


 Boneset

boneset, joe-pye weed

This flower got its name because it was once thought to be able to heal broken bones. Even if this isn’t quite true, boneset is a staple in many gardens. It bears open clusters of tiny flowers of blue, mauve or purple that last till frost. Like the chrysanthemum, boneset makes a beautiful cut flower, and sometimes naturalizes in the garden. Cultivars can grow from one to 10 feet high. One of the tallest varieties is Joe-Pye weed, which has flat clusters of pink or white flowers. Boneset prefers rich soil and full sun to partial shade.


 Gaillardia

Gaillardia, Blanket Flowers

Gaillardia is a perfect fit for fall gardening.  Also called blanket-flower, gaillardia flowers look like daisies except that they’re stunning combinations of red, maroon or yellow that rise up from mounds of attractive leaves. This is a tough plant that can tolerate some neglect, bad soil and drought. It’s great to grow near the sea.  


 Sneezeweed

Sneezeweed

True, this flower makes some people sneeze, but its beauty makes up for it. Sneezeweed produces masses of bright butter yellow, orange, bronze or burgundy flowers with petals that droop down from a darker center. Sneezeweed is popular for floral arrangements. It lasts till frost and prefers full sun and moist, loamy soil.


 Phlox

Phlox

Phlox is prized because it can grow in nearly all kinds of soil and thrives in light exposure from full sun to deep shade. The plant produces five petaled flowers in clusters or singly. They come in nearly every color a flower can come in. Three inch high specimens make excellent choices for rock gardens or ground covers. Types that grow to four feet make good border plants.  


 Arrangements

Many gardeners arrange plants with different blossoming times together so that the garden has flowers throughout the year, with the fall blooming plants being the last to flower. An eye-catching border garden might have a Japanese maple in the upper story, scattered plantings of Boltonia in the mid-story and phlox or bellflowers as ground covers along with prostrate mugo pine, barberry and ornamental grass such as miscanthus to give the mid-story some height.

One good flower arrangement made with fall flowers would be a hollowed out piece of driftwood filled with gaillardia set off with green branches of forsythia. Others are a long-necked, Oriental vase full of orange and gold chrysanthemums with sprigs of rosemary, or a bowl of milkweed flowers and dried milkweed pods arranged with cattails and scarlet and gold autumn leaves and a branch or two of red-barked dogwood.

Lastly, I hope you enjoyed today’s article on fall gardening.  Be sure to let us know in the comments if you have anything to add!

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