By Bonnie Jo Manion
Fall is such a busy time of year. School is back in session. Garden clubs begin their new years and commence their monthly programs. It is a great time to travel. Everyone is back into a routine, and the casual relaxing days of summer are behind us. How do you find time to garden? How do you extend the garden in Southern California?
Here are a few of my tips to help you extend your garden season and keep your home and garden looking beautiful.
Add seasonal annuals for color and to fill in possible bare spots or spice up your favorite containers. Try planting varieties of marigolds, ornamental grasses, and mums. Don’t forget about storing and displaying your abundant garden harvest on tables, around containers, and in carts. Fall apples, pumpkins, and butternut squash are a few beautiful suggestions, and easy ways to highlight fall ambience.
Plant your garden and landscape with year-round-interest plants. Year-round interest is easy on the gardener and keeps your garden exciting and beautiful moving through the seasons.
Succulents look beautiful throughout the year with their structure, texture, and color. Don’t forget about edibles, such as grapes and blueberry bushes, which look beautiful in every season. A favorite on “Top Ten Plant Lists,” oakleaf hydrangea (Hydrangea quercifolia) has nearly year-round interest, and sports stunning burnish-crimson foliage in the fall.
Use plants that reseed themselves easily. Plant a patch of arugula in your vegetable garden, and it easily reseeds itself for successive crops. Purple vervain (Verbena bonariensis), which also easily reseeds itself, is a great-looking tall landscape plant, attracting birds and butterflies.
Grow repeat bloomers such as roses and irises. I can always count on my white ‘Iceberg’ floribunda roses to bloom spring through fall.
I’m a big fan of ornamental grasses. They are low-maintenance, beautiful, provide movement in your garden, and have year-round interest. A striking fall combination is fountain grass (Pennisetum) and blue potato bush (Lycianthes rantonnetii).
In addition it always is helpful to have trees, shrubs, and perennials to anchor your garden, add structure, and provide interest as it moves through the seasons.
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