Friday, November 6, 2009

Fall: Best time to plant flowers

Okay, maybe not the BEST time, but certainly a good one. I mean look at these:

Is there anything more festive than a mum? Probably, but I can't resist these pretty balls of autumn color, especially when most other colors are dying and browning for the winter. This year I've replaced my summer geraniums (to be discussed in a later post) with mums in all of my containers and window boxes around the front of the house. My goal is to eventually plant these in the ground once the flowers die back, and see if they make a comeback next year. They should, because I bought all "garden" mums, instead of "container" mums, which are supposed to be grown indoors and normally only last one season.

I've had fun planting spring-blooming bulbs, though the warmer temps we've had in the last week (70+) are causing them to sprout a bit. I hope this won't kill them when our first frost FINALLY arrives.

This is what last year's planting produced in the spring:

There were some bright red tulips, too, but those popped out later. I've added bulbs all along the flower beds, whereas last year I only had them in the very front section (the most my 6-months-pregnant body could handle at the time). I can't wait to see the show come March!

Another fall tradition that I hope to end is the planting of pansies. I LOVE the look of cheerful little pansies along the sidewalk in front of the house. Last year we planted them, and I kept expecting them to die back when the temperatures climbed in the summer. A few of them did, but several stuck around all year (super pansies?). I now think that with a bit of watering in the summer, we can keep these little guys going as perennials. We planted in all of the front flower beds, and I found a pretty rose-colored bloom to alternate with the traditional dark purples, yellows, and whites.

I've mentioned my geranium containers, which also contained marigolds. A few of these survived to keep the new mums company in the containers. With the fall comes a new generation of seeds, and happily these container marigolds threw out several seeds that have sprouted here and there in the front beds:

You can't beat free flowers, right? Especially ones that are so beneficial for the garden as a natural pest-repellent. I'm actually planning to plant these in and around the vegetable garden next year.

And although these aren't technically a fall flower, I'm so pleased with the rose bushes in the front, too. These were planted by the previous owners of our house, and frankly looked on the verge of death last year. We haven't done anything to them except some minimal pruning and occasional weeding, but we've been paid back immensely throughout the late summer and into fall so far:

Everytime I think these girls are done for the season, I see new buds forming and opening. They first bloomed way back in May, when I cut a few off and placed in an old Parmesan cheese shaker-turned bud vase. Here it is mid-November and they're still going strong.

The other major fall planting project has been shrubs (!), but I'll give those their own post. It's a doozy!

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