The Fall garden can be beautiful in its own way. Seen here is a combination of grasses, spirea and hosta in all its’ fall glory. As the days become shorter and temperatures lower an array of oranges, yellows, reds and tans emerge in the garden. When I design I like to use plantings that show off their beauty in the later summer and fall as well as in the warmer temperatures. Just as other colors fade grasses just start to get their abundant plumes and spirea go into a color burst of oranges and yellows.
As I gaze into my garden an array of deep pink now steals the show. This autumn favorite is Sedum ‘Brilliant’. Sedum is just going into bloom now at the end of summer and it holds its' color well into autumn. Sedum comes in a variety of sizes and colors including Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ (18-24” orange blooms), Sedum ‘Brilliant’ (18 “ rose blooms), Sedum ‘Rose Glow ‘ (8-12” pink blooms) and Sedum ‘Fulda Glow’ (4” rose-red blooms). Other fall favorites include: Callicarpa (Beauty Bush) with its deep purple berries, Perovskia (Russian Sage), Rudbeckia (Black Eyed Susan), Agastache (Hyssop) and Hamamelis (Witch Hazel). Just as the other elements in the garden start their exit these beauties begin their vibrant display.
As far as maintenance is concerned it is good practice to prune back spent perennials to a few inches above the ground to prevent fungal diseases and to surround the area with a layer of mulch that will insulate the plants during winter. It is best to completely cut back perennials such as hosta, daylily, nepeta, salvia, coreopsis, and gallardia to prevent disease. Grasses on the other hand should be kept throughout the winter in order to protect the roots and cut back to about 4-6 inches off the ground in late March. If your grasses are a bit unruly at the end of the summer season you can take off a portion of the top but it is recommended that the majority of the cutting back be done after the harsh winter. Plants such as heuchera (coral bells) continue to show color throughout the winter and are prone to frost heaving so they are best cleaned up in the spring. Astilbe, Liatris, Lavender, Russian Sage and especially Lupine are sensitive to cold and are better being pruned back in early spring after the cold temperatures have ceased. Black Eyed Susan and Coneflowers even though not that attractive in winter serve an excellent food source for birds and can be cut back in early spring.
Rudbeckia (Black Eyed Susan)
The garden season does not have to end in August. Add some of these plants to your gardening list and add some fall interest to your landscaping.