We have already had our first touch of fall, with cooler air and a break from the summer drought, but there are still enough days to schedule the garden planting of flowers that bloom now and in spring and summer.
There is an Aesop fable called "The Grasshopper and the Ant" in which during autumn the ant works hard to harvest food for the winter while the grasshopper lounges and spends his time singing. When winter comes, the grasshopper shivers while the ant eats a hearty meal.
As you begin thinking about fall and your garden planting, we would like to mention a few of the flowers that can be planted this time of year. This coming season, we hope you will enjoy not only warmth and good food, but also a colorful garden, potted plants, and a bouquet of flowers on the table.
5 excellent choices for your garden planting schedule:
- 1. Asiatic Lily Bulbs – These beauties come in a variety of colors ranging from a bright, luxurious red to a gorgeous violet. Many of popular varieties prefer acidic to neutral soil, but some are lime-tolerant or prefer alkaline soils. These are perennial flowers, and there is no need to dig them up each year. They grow up to 36 inches, and need to be planted mostly in sunny areas of the garden with partial shade.
- 2. Snowdrops – These little, white buds are the first signal of spring. They need to be planted in the fall, with good quality well-drained soil. They are also a pest free plant, as rabbits and rodents usually refuse to eat them. These are also perennials and grow anywhere from 4 to 7 inches high.
- 3. Hardy Garden Mums – These mums brighten up any chilly autumn morning! They grow 1 to 3 feet in direct sunlight to partial shade. Plant in well-draining soil, make sure to leave 6-12 inches between each plant and water frequently. If you live at higher elevations that experience frost or snow, be sure to protect the mums by covering the plants with several inches of mulch before winter. If you decide to pot them instead, bring them inside for the winter because they will be susceptible to cold damage.
- 4. Queen Anne’s Lace (Wild Carrot) – This soft plant sports a fern-like foliage with a cluster of white flowers, a perfect addition to a wildflower garden. It is also edible – its root can be used in soups and vegetable stews. Caring for this plant is simple. It requires an occasional sprinkling of water and does not need to be fertilized.
CAUTION: This plant is very similar to Poison Hemlock and Fool’s Parsley, both of which are toxic. Before cooking, be sure that the root smells of carrots, which is the proper indication. If the smell is revolting and does not smell like carrots at all, it may belong to the latter two poisonous plants.
- 5. Hardy Ice Plants (Delosperma cooperi) – These are succulents and a wonderful addition to any rocky area of the garden. They come in many different species and some are multicolored like the Delosperma Fire Spinner. These are quite hardy and can be planted in the fall, but most of the blooms will appear in summer. Make sure to keep them dry throughout the winter months; cover the plants with a piece of row crop cover (frost blanket) to keep their foliage and crowns dry.
It’s not too late, but it is time to get going with your garden planting schedule. Let us know if you need our help.
Ignore the grasshopper. Be an ant!