As summer comes to a close, the proficient gardener knows that it’s time to start thinking about their autumnal garden space. When planning out a fall garden, it’s important to keep 4 things in mind:
One thing that everyone knows about fall, is that it is known for color. Vibrant, rich colors from intense yellows, fiery oranges and blazing reds dominate the season. Fall gardening needs to both blend in with this strong colorful landscape, and provide a contrasting accent. Fall Mums are a perennial favorite for this purpose because they provide an array of colors that work with the changing fall tides.
Due to their growth habit, which products a tight mound covered profusely with blooms, garden mums are perfect for mass planting and can be hardy in certain gardening zones (Zones 5 – 9 for most Garden Mums). To increase the impact, stick to one or two colors as that will create the greatest effect from a distance.
Add unique structural items into your patio and garden decor that will provide some visual appeal as the summer foliage continues to disappear. This, however, is not the time to install a water feature or anything that needs to be winterized, stick with something that can easy withstand the remainder of the fall season and provide a focal point well into and possibly even through the winter.
These fall garden pumpkin stakes are one such idea. Easy to make (simple to follow instructions are online at BirdsandBlooms.com), these provide a unique and perfectly fall decor accent. The only downside with these is that because they are made with fairly inexpensive resin pumpkin figurines, you need to remove them before winter hits full force, or you’ve got some Spring cleanup to be done.
Another nice option is a Garden Weathervane or Wind Chime. Not only do they provide a good structural interest, but they are solid enough to hold up to the elements and will still be there to be enjoyed the following Spring.
Fall is – if nothing else – a season of change. So you need to be prepared to change up the garden as early fall turns to Halloween, followed by Thanksgiving and finally transitions fully into winter. Plan aspects of your fall Garden that can easily be tweaked to provide a slightly different feel for each of these phases of fall.
The Pumpkins and Gourds displayed earlier can easily be “spooked out” by adding cheap witch’s hats to each or other Halloween decorations that suddenly make a fall display a Halloween display. Or the Garden Weathervane topper can be replaced with one that has a much more Halloween feel. The stake and directional elements can remain exactly where you placed them and a quick switch completely changes the entire style.
Unless you really want to spook out your yard, you should plan for small tweaks to the existing gardening to give things a gradual shift in and out of each part of the season.
One critical aspect of fall gardening is to “get things ready” for Spring’s rebirth. This is the time when you plant the Spring bulbs so that you can enjoy that moment of rebirth when winter is over. You’ll also want to properly prepare your perennials and the lawn for the Winter ahead.
Fertilize the lawn and garden properly and try – as best as possible – to utilize natural elements that can decompose and provide additional value to your Spring Garden.
Many people believe that you need to rake up every single fallen leaf from your yard before winter hits, but I tend to disagree. Mulched leaves provide protection for the lawn as well as the Spring Bulbs that you just planted, they add a touch of color for the fall, and – once composted over the winter – they provide rich nutrients in the Spring.
But make sure the leaves are properly mulched, if they are full and thick and mat together, they can actually block out much needed light and rain in the Spring. Mulched or shredded leaves are fairly easy to create, even if you don’t have a leaf shredder. Simply pile them up into a loose pile (not to big) and run over them a few times with the lawn mower. Spread the leafy mulch into your garden for a good, organic bit of color. As always, be careful when using any heavy machinery, you don’t want to hurt yourself.
With so much mild and beautiful weather ahead, it’s nice to know that – with a little color, structure, change and preparation – you can have a beautiful Fall garden for many months to come.