Sunday, August 28, 2016

Transitioning the Garden from Summer into Fall

This year's summer plants will move into fall with a little help from all of us who garden. High temperatures punctuated by rain brought on by summer storms have been good for my garden this season, though I was stressed at times during the dry spells. Trees, shrubs, perennials and the lawn have come through summer beautifully. Have you ever seen perennial hibiscus look as gorgeous as they did this year?
Perennial Hibiscus

Beautiful potted plants welcomed me on a recent visit to Chanticleer Gardens 
And it seems that our efforts to plant for pollinators have really paid off; Monarch and Swallowtail butterflies have rebounded in our area. The perennial Agastache 'Blue Boa' was a particularly favorite pollinator magnet. Go to our facebook page to see a quick video on this amazing plant.
Our sunflower seed giveaway helped kids enjoy pollinators like bees and butterflies

Many annuals, including petunias, calibrachoa, verbena and dusty miller, will grow in our hot summer temperatures but also do well in cooler fall weather. In fact, they will handle fall frosts quite well.
Annuals echo fall colors

Other annuals, like ornamental peppers, zinnias, coleus and fountain grasses, echo the colors of autumn, but may need to be pulled out of pots and the garden after being hit by frosts. Mums, pansies and ornamental cabbage and kale are the perfect plants to switch places as annuals succumb to heavy frost.
Glamour kale has beautiful fall color and is frost hardy

September and October are great months to add perennials, trees and shrubs to the garden. Cooler air temperatures countered by warm soil allows plants to root in quickly with little heat-induced stress.

The early fall months are also a good time to transition tropical plants and houseplant back indoors. Keep in mind that they are humidity-loving plants and add pebble trays or even a humidifier to keep the plants healthy.
Begonias and philodendron add some fall color to the indoors
 Pull up summer blooming bulbs like dahlias and cannas as the cold weather approaches. Caladiums, colocasia and other tropical bulbs can be stored in a cool, dry place until it is time to replant again in spring.
Speaking of bulbs, September is an ideal time to shop for bulbs, while the selection is good. But wait until  October and November to plant spring flowering bulbs like daffodils and tulips. Alliums, crocus, hyacinths and a host of other minor bulbs should be selected soon too, but wait until we have a couple of frosts before planting.
Art in the spring garden at Longwood

Start planning soon for incredible spring color. Plant spring flowering trees and bulbs this fall.

Fall gardening is less stressful on the plants and on us. Our love of gardening is year 'round. By easing from summer into fall, our plants will join us as we enjoy the coming cool temperatures. Hope your summer has been relaxing and fun.