As gardeners know, to everything there is a season. Many gardeners focus on bright spring bulbs and graceful summer blooms but fail to consider what their gardens will look like when fall arrives. Failure to plan ahead will leave your autumn garden beds dull, brown and lifeless, sadly bereft of beauty. However, careful planning now will ensure that your garden remains filled with a bounteous display of colorful blooms all through the fall until winter’s frosty fingers tuck it in for winter sleep.
The two mainstays of the fall garden are Asters (Aster) and Chrysanthemums (Chrysanthemum).
- Aster (Aster) is a daisy-like annual that comes in a profusion of brightly-hued colors including stunning lavenders, deep pinks and dense blues. Rising from clumps of deep green foliage on long, slender stems, stately asters exhibit a fringe of elegantly thin petals delicately surrounding bright yellow centers.
- Chrysanthemum (Chrysanthemum), commonly referred to as “mums,” grow in charming bushy mounds covered with dozens of closely-packed, daisy-petalled blossoms. Deeply lobed green foliage disappears beneath a crown of blooms in early fall. Chrysanthemums are available in a wide range of colors from bright yellows to rich, dusky maroons. Depending on variety, flower heads may be small and dense like popular 1-inch diameter button and cushion mums or large and showy like exotic 4-inch diameter Japanese mums.
Because both of these fall-blooming plants are sun lovers that grow best in fertile, humus-rich soil, they can be successfully mixed in the same garden bed. Keep soil moist during hot weather. Monthly application of a balanced liquid fertilizer will encourage robust blooming. To prolong fall garden displays, cover plants on frigid fall nights to protect from early frost.