A little color for the autumn season | VailDaily.com

A little color for the autumn season

by M.G. Gallagher

I was going to start out with the pre-autumn scenic introduction about the upcoming fantastic fall colors and lead into a column about simplicity in design, color combinations and plant placement. Then (Rod Serling’s voice fades into my mind), I picked up the Leadville Chronicle …

The lead story in this weekis Leadville Chronicle reads, “Gallagher’s

Ghost remains at Mikasa Mine, legend says.” Hmm, a plot to get rid of a

mine boss, and death in its most hideous forms, ghosts, 1890 …

It gets even spookier when I remembered that the first good soccer ball I owned was a Mikasa and it’s even spookier that I wouldn’t have seen this feature if I wasn’t running about as late as possible in getting this up-to-the-minute landscape column out.

The story is a riot, and is absolutely worth looking up at leadvillenews@cmnm.org. It is a great tale of historical Colorado (the real part) and how rough and tough it could be in those days. Excellent story, Roger Peterson.

Back to fall without the dramatic intro. There are various tidbits to address from questions that have come in.

No, don’t plant your bulbs yet. It is too early. Yes, if you plant tulips where the most frequent visiting neighbors are the Deer family, you will be preparing them the most beautiful salad ever next spring. Instead, plant daffodils as your foundation spring bulb. Various animal friends won’t eat them.

The days are still warm enough to do weed control, but with the more frequent rains lately, spray early in the day or wait until a dry forecast. Please, if you use herbicides and insecticides, use the most environmentally-friendly stuff you can.

An alternative threadleaf coreopsis to Moonbeam is Zagreb. It blooms later into the season and is especially useful in the hotter parts of the area. It is a bright golden yellow, where Moonbeam is a paler, more sulfury yellow. Zagreb looks good with blue shades, and against the greens of foliage.

Thanks and bon voyage to Mike Bauer, CSU Cooperative Extension agent. He’s off to other callings. We have an excellent Master Gardener program here, thanks to our Extension Office and their efforts, too. More about this program in a separate column.

The area nurseries have a lot of items on sale, and all do an excellent job. Conditions for planting are excellent right now for perennials, shrubs and trees. The cloudier, wetter September makes things even better. There is still a long window for putting these in the ground.

Two of my very favorite small trees and shrubs are Amur maple and dwarf Amur maple. One of the best times to shop for them is when they are turning color. Where Amur varieties such as Flame have a reliable fall color, the species can vary in fall color from muted yellows and reds, to brilliant. You want to look for specimens that show excellent fall color, hence the fall purchase. Amur maples are among the most attractive fall color you will see, and also have the most attractive green foliage and red samara tones in the summer. It should be on the top 10 list for Eagle valley plantings and beyond.

Put a fall color road trip on the calendar. I predict a good one.

M.G. Gallagher writes a column on gardening and landscaping for the Daily. He can be reached at montanegarden@excite.com

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