This wonderful warm weather has taken its toll on much of our summer colour, hanging baskets and containers, so now’s the time to renew for the next season. The good news is there’s lots of choice right now to revive the tired plants on your patio or front porch and in your garden. Beautiful fall mums are widely available, and quite frankly, they look stunning. Coming in all sizes and in rich late summer colours, these beautiful and easy plants will add a fresh look to your gardens. If you buy them in the tight bud stage, they will last for weeks, requiring just a little watering to keep them perky. I like to group them with fall grasses, especially around pennisetums (bunny tails) and miscanthus because their airy plumes are just now opening, and the mums and grasses complement each other nicely.
The new ‘hottie’ right now seems to be the lime coloured ‘Gold Crest’ cypress. Simply placed on your patio or steps, its vibrant colour creates a visual pop. Centred in a container and surrounded by carex grasses and winter pansies, this combination makes a fast and easy fall showpiece. With a little protection, they will even go through the winter.
Speaking of pansies, lots of folks are asking for ‘winter pansies’ to add fresh garden and container colour. Just so you know, all pansies and violas had their origins in high alpine regions, especially in Europe, and they are the most cold tolerant of any long colour plants. They will hang in with the heat, but they really love the coming cooler fall weather. They will not only go through winter, but will also bring your garden to life in February, March and April when we all need a lift. If they get a little leggy in September heat, just pinch them back and they will fill out beautifully and come back quickly with a huge flush of colour.
The tiny flowered violas, with their elegant new bi-colours, are becoming very popular, and by the way, they are the hardiest of all violas. The ‘Matrix’ series of pansies are, perhaps, the most weather tolerant of all, and their mid-sized blossoms just motor on through everything until the bitter cold sets in, after which they too bounce back nicely.. The very large blossomed varieties look nice, but they will not give you the consistent long colour of the more resilient mid-sized varieties.
The new ‘Cool Wave’ trailing pansies have become recent superstars because of their versatility. First, they are designed for use in hanging baskets and planters, and they really have a nice trailing habit and lots of colour. They also spread like the ‘Wave’ petunias, giving your garden more pop for your buck. They now come in a wide range of colours for some nice design work.
Another pick-me-up looking great now are the still new ‘Bud Blooming’ heathers. Their massive buds that open partially, looking pretty and fresh and staying that way for months, are their most unique feature. They come in a wide range of colours and add a touch of class and freshness to any container or garden planting. There will be lots available soon, so track them down.
Finally, this is the time to pop in fall blooming perennials to revive a tired summer garden and for a repeat performance year after year. Fresh new perennials, such as rudbeckias, echinaceas, heleniums and asters, will carry your gardens right now and will continue to do so until October.