Time to Plant

A few simple steps are all it takes to create a colorful autumn garden

fall gardenSo often, homeowners focus on what their gardens looks like in the spring and the summer only. Gardens tend to be overlooked when we begin to spend more time indoors during the cooler seasons.

Many of us have gotten used to thinking, “Summer is over and so is the garden.” And that simply is not true. We can enjoy our gardens during autumn and winter by adding a few simple plants and making a few adjustments to our fall clean-up practices.

In fact, trees or shrubs can be planted as long as the ground is not frozen. Many gardeners actually prefer to plant during autumn when the outside temperatures are cooler but the soil is still warm enough to help roots grow. Consider adding one or more of the following plants to extend the beauty of your garden.

Include Interesting Trees and Shrubs

Mums and ornamental cabbage fall gardenMany deciduous trees and shrubs, which lose their leaves in the winter, are a surprising source of color for the fall garden. Grouping several different varieties together will provide a prolonged progression of color through autumn.

Trees, such as Japanese maples, dogwoods, birch trees, flowering plums and crape myrtle, are still typically available at garden centers and will provide showy color in the fall. Shrubs, including viburnum, winter creeper euonymus, shrub roses, beautyberry and serviceberry, also provide fall color in beautiful shades of yellow, red and bronze.

Another option is to plant evergreens, which retain their leaves all year long. Boxwood, junipers, euonymus, arborvitae, holly and rhododendrons all provide nice texture not only during the cooler months but throughout the entire year.

Add Color with Fall Flowers

For many, autumn is all about the chrysanthemum, also known as a mum. Mums are available in a variety of colors from yellow and orange to white, purple and pink, and they look great along walkways or at the entrance to your home. Mums bloom for several weeks before the frost arrives.

Another fall favorite is ornamental cabbage or kale, which bloom in dazzling shades of purple and white in myriad styles that last from fall through early winter.

Don’t Cut Everything Down

Typically, gardeners get into the habit of cutting back their ornamental grasses, hydrangea and perennials in autumn. They call it fall cleanup.

But, imagine for a moment if everything wasn’t cut down. Ornamental grasses, although no longer green, provide an interesting texture in the winter garden. Picture birds perching on the stems of spent coneflowers and the tussle of dried hydrangea during a winter snow storm.

It’s a beautiful way to keep the garden alive.

Gardening doesn’t have to end with summer. The fall and winter gardens can provide
vivid colors, shapes and textures. Try planting something new this fall and maybe cut back
(pun intended) on the pruning so that you may fully enjoy all that your garden has to offer.

Karen Musgrave, CNLP, is a marketing and education specialist at Hicks Nurseries.

Karen Musgrave
Karen Musgrave, CNLP, is a marketing and education specialist at Hicks Nurseries and contributing writer to Long Island Weekly.

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