It is that time of year again. The days are becoming a little shorter, the evenings are becoming a little cooler, and there are splashes of red and orange tipping the leaves. Fall is just around the corner. This is when minds typically drift away from our yards to the inevitable end of summer and the chaos of back to school. However, don’t neglect this important change of season and the effect it can have on your garden or seasons to come.
Flourishing in the Fall
The hues of the upcoming season are what make fall in Ontario spectacular. Our landscape is transformed with the crimson, gold and auburn of the leaves. The trees need not be the only ways to add color as your summer garden matures. There are many options that will add color to your garden into the cooler months that you can either plant ahead to grow through the whole season, or add in the fall. Perennial Sedum is a nice way to add color and richness to your garden. Sedum grows in a nice full bush with star shaped clusters of flowers. Some varieties of Sedums can grow up to 3’ tall so they make a nice backdrop or border to your garden. Black eyed Susans are resilient perennials that bloom in the summer but also into the fall. Fall plants like mums and asters can also be planted in your garden bed. You need not worry if you are just deciding that you want these fall blooms; they can be planted through August and September. Another addition to your fall garden space may be some low lying hen and chicks or sprawling hostas interspersed with the colors of the aster and mums. As you cull your garden of matured annuals, mulch can be spread between the remaining plants to give your garden a new look as well as protecting the soil and bulbs that will be the foundation of next spring’s garden.
If your property doesn’t have mature trees and you are not adding fall plants to your garden but you still want to infuse that color, convert your spring and summer planters to make the most of the seasonal palette. The classic aster and mums thrive well in planters and the color varieties are vast and impressive. Ornamental cabbages, as well as grasses, can add a nice richness and interest to a fall container.
Looking at all the beautiful trees may leave you wanting more bushes, shrubs and trees in your garden. Evaluate your space when deciding on placement. Bear in mind that these larger additions will have an effect on watering, shade and space in your yard and garden.
If space is not an issue, there are several large tree options that offer attractive specimens throughout the year, but specifically a beautiful fall transformation. True to its name, the Red Maple displays beautiful red foliage in fall. The Sugar maple presents striking orange and golden leaves. The Red oak will turn a nice rusty red in the fall while the bur oak intersperses green and yellow leaves.
If you have a smaller space but are looking for punches of color, the smaller cedars may be a nice option. Varieties such as the Yellow Ribbon white cedar have fronds tipped in yellow. Flowering crabapple trees add a punch of color in spring with their pink blossoms and fall with their orange-red foliage.
Think ahead to spring color
The coming months are a great time to think ahead to next spring. Whether you are just building your outdoor space, or have a more mature yard, take this time as things start to thin out to see if there were any holes in your garden. Fall is a great time of year to plant. Bulbs such as daffodils, tulips, hyacinth and crocus can be put in the ground now. The cooler temperatures allow the roots to grow well and moisture remains in the soil longer between waterings. Once the bulbs are properly planted, you can use the leaves and waste from your garden to create a nutrient rich ground cover for the fledgling bulbs.
Fall does not have to mean the end of enjoying what the outdoors has to offer. Your outdoor space can be appreciated year round with a little bit of planning and dedication.