Landscape Logic: Perk up your yard with fall color
By mid-September, the flowers that thrived in the summer heat can start to look a little tired.
With fall in the air, it’s time to bring fresh, seasonal color into our containers and planting beds. That color shift will even help us make the mental transition into the next season. The last weeks of September are ideal for refreshing both containers and beds with brilliant fall color. The nighttime temperatures are much cooler, and there are fewer hours of daylight. With the hot days of summer behind, perennials, in particular, can settle in without heat stress and there’s still time for roots to get set for winter.
Transitioning to fall plants also brings a good return on investment. Cool-season pansies will overwinter and bloom again next spring. Fall-blooming perennials used for seasonal color are another good value because they will bloom again season after season. Plant them once, and they should be around for years to come.
Trends and themes
Among the most popular outdoor trends is growing edibles — and this trend carries over into late-season color and containers. It’s more practical to water and care for plants that we not only enjoy seeing, but also enjoy eating. This year, plant a container full of edibles that includes herbs, dinosaur kale and even pansies, because they, too, are edible.
Also use containers to play to special fall themes. Since fall is all about football, why not promote the fun of the game and carry the theme into porch and patio containers? A planter full of orange and blue pansies accented with a piece of football gear is a great way to say, “It’s Broncos Sunday!” And don’t stop there. Use the colors from your kids’ schools — or your own college team — to create a container or two. Drop a school banner into the mix and show your team spirit.
Halloween is another autumn theme easily enhanced with fall foliage and flowers. Nestling the jack-o-lantern among orange and black pansies adds both a pop of color and live interest. Add more drama by accenting the container with twigs or small branches salvaged from pruning debris and painted black or silver. What else can you repurpose from your yard for Halloween that’s both fun and sustainable?
Pansies of any color work well in containers and also in beds. They might even bloom during the winter in mild years, and you can certainly look forward to seeing them again in the spring. Their long bloom time makes pansies a smart investment.
Mums and asters, in particular, are the fall bloomers that offer a great range of colors, from soft lavender to bright yellow to burnished bronze. Mums are that signature plant that says, “It’s fall!” Just seeing them helps put us in the mood for autumn.
Other plants to work into fall plantings are grasses and sedum. Grasses add height to containers, and their movement when swaying in the breeze adds visual interest to both containers and beds. The unique textures and shapes of sedum make it a standout in containers. Both grasses and sedum mix well with other annuals, perennials and foliage plants.
Winter is around the corner, and fall helps us wind down. Enjoy the beauty and ambiance of this new season by getting creative with containers that show off your favorite fall themes and style.
Becky Garber is a member of the Associated Landscape Contractors of Colorado, of which Neils Lunceford, a landscaping company, is a member. You may contact them at 970-468-0340.
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