Fall containers help rejuvenate garden colours

"...annuals have done really well throughout the summer, but the colors are starting to fade and blooms are drooping..."

Kids are back to school and summer is winding down.  We have enjoyed months of beautiful, hot, sunny weather.  Fall is my favorite season.  I love the feel of the warm sunny days and the fresh cooler nights as the days get just a little shorter.  The air has a cool, refreshing scent signaling the change for the colorful season to come.

My containers filled with annuals have done really well throughout the summer, but the colors are starting to fade and blooms are drooping due to the continuous onslaught of the hot summer sun. I find them looking a little tired and in need of a boost or pick-me-up.

Now is the time to rejuvenate the pots for a fresh fall display.  Plants that can handle the cooler nights and possible early frost are a good choice.  Colors of fall plantings tend to mimic the foliage displays of the changing leaves of the trees and shrubs around us.  We can change the whole pot or just replace a couple of the feature plants which can completely change the look of the display for the balance of the garden season.

One of the most popular fall plants is the chrysanthemums (mums).  This plant is a staple for the fall garden producing balls of purple, orange, red, yellow or bronze.   They can come in the common “hardy mum” who will winter in the garden or the “florist mum” considered to be an annual.   Mums also come in dwarf varieties.

Asters similar in size, shape and color to the mum are also a popular choice in fall displays.

Pansies are also a favorite.  Who can resist the brightly colored faces of these resilient plants?  Cool hardy they are a great choice to fill in around a feature plant in the pot arrangement.

Think vegetable when considering an arrangement.  Ornamental cabbage or kale is widely being used in pots.  These fancy, bold leafed plants are a cousin to the vegetable garden varieties and will tolerate mild frost.  These beauties come with deep purple or white centers surrounded by layers of ruffled leaves.

Grasses are a great choice to add some height to the arrangement.  Coming in shades of blue, bronze, red or russet, grasses provide visual impact as well as great movement within the display.  Blue Oat, Feather reed, or Japanese Forest grasses are wonderful choices.  Some can simply be composted at the end of the season while others are perennial and can be placed in the garden.

A perennial choice for accenting a pot is Stonecrop sedum (such as “Autumn Joy”) which provides great bang for your buck. It is a dependable and versatile long blooming plant that produces pink blooms which turn copper later in the fall.  This plant also attracts butterflies and can be used in dried flower arrangements.

Don’t forget to add some whimsy.  The coming of fall provides us with all sorts of gourds, pumpkins or squash.  Place three or four in amongst the planting for a final flourish of fall.

Betty Drover operates a local garden business with business partner Patti Siddall every other Friday. Contact: 250-364-1005

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