Thursday, September 04, 2008

Five ways I keep it fresh in the late season


This is not the kind of post I usually do. I try never to blatantly give advice. So just take this is as some guidelines I follow, not anything I suggest for others. Or just ignore everything I’m saying.

1. Have a water feature. Especially when it’s hot in September, the cool water and—ideally—lush foliage that surrounds the water should lend a cool, green atmosphere. By this time, our pond is totally overshadowed by vines (hydrangea, wisteria, trumpet, clematis). Sadly, my sweet autumn clematis was obliterated by the pond guys and it hasn’t struggled back yet.


2. Plant lots of foliage plants. Unlike flowers, these won’t let you down in the late season. Indeed, some of the tropical or hot zone/annual ones like musa, colocasia, croton, and coleus get bigger and better than ever. Meanwhile, the rudbeckia and echinacea are beginning to look kind of ratty at this time.




3. Have lots of annuals, period. Most of them, if properly watered and fed will pump out flowers through much of October. I’d much rather keep my annuals going than plant mums (Fie! Bah!) or autumn sedum (yawn) or other plants prescribed for fall. Japanese anemone is wonderful, but I don’t have enough of it.

4. Buy new plants if you can find them. This may be terribly extravagant and wasteful but if you have good nurseries that still have viable annuals at this time, why not. I don’t cavil at buying full-grown, blooming dahlias. Maybe I’ll even succeed at saving them. I’ve also found that buying smaller seedlings from such places as Select Seeds, will give a mature plant later. This is certainly happening with my black-eyed Susan vine.

5. Cut back, deadhead, or just rip away crappy brown plants that are serving no useful purposes. I’ll leave the rudbeckia and conehead seedheads for the birds, but there are limits.

And there you have it. I still need to finish number 5 and I’m taking a stab at 4 tomorrow.

12 comments:

Carol said...

Really, no mums? I do like your 'non-advice'. Your pictures show a garden with a lot of good life still in it for fall, even without mums! So you are obviously doing something(s) right!

Carol, May Dreams Gardens

Lisa at Greenbow said...

While I like mums I do adhere to your non advice of planting fresh annuals this time of year. I always tell myself that I would buy fresh cut flowers during winter to brighten a room and they don't last near as long as an annual in the garden.

Dee/reddirtramblings said...

A hearty "Amen" to the water feature. Water is soothing when it's so hot. Annuals here get overgrown, but mums, well, are mums.~~Dee

Gail said...

I'm with you on the mums. Your gentle suggestions are excellent, now to get the water feature in place...some day!

susan harris said...

Good stuff!

Mr. McGregor's Daughter said...

Hate the Mums, love the Asters! That's my fall motto. I also like to play with the changing color of foliage plants, especially Hostas that turn such a bright gold. I see nothing extravagent about buying Pansies to perk up the fall containers. I can't seem to get the ones I buy in spring to make it through the summer, and they are so tough that if the fall & winter are mild, they just keep right on blooming.

MA said...

loved that photo of the colocasia. Quite dramatic. you may want to add mums. Mum's the word.

flowergardengirl.com said...

I've narrowed down my annual buying to a brand that only fades after first frost. I pay more up front but don't have to purchase again at the end of the season. I would love a water feature and just maybe in a few years, I'll get one.

Muddy Boot Dreams said...

Great Non Advice. I do love the russet mums, and I do plant pansies, for color throughout the winter. We usually only get 2 - 3 weeks of September before the rains set in.
The water feature is a wonderful addition to any garden, lately though the racoons are appreciating mine a little too much.

UK Water Features said...

lovely pictures of the pond, do you cover yours in the winter time to prevent damage?

Primrose said...

Great blog, and good to see you have so much life in the garden! A water feature is a great idea, not only for you but also for the wildlife and plants, who will also be hot and thirsty in the summer!

Water Features said...

I struggle to work out the difference between crappy brown plants that are serving no useful purposes, and quality plants that will grow back in the future.