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Planning Ahead

Learn how to plan ahead for the Fall growing season.

Spring is a busy time for the gardener. There is a lot of tidying up to be done to ensure that the bulbs and perennial spring blooming plants show off their flowers to advantage.

But even while we are admiring what is blooming now, we need also to think about keeping the flower power going until this entire growing season ends in the fall.

Once spring frosts are over, we get busy planting our annuals. They are the workhorse plants that provide continuous bloom, even though it is just for this year. They also unify and contrast with our perennials if the colors we choose are compatible with those of our permanent plantings.

Annual Colors

When in doubt, plant annuals with white flowers which integrate and highlight other colors as well as looking luminous in the early evening light.

Purple and blue hues are also good colors for annuals as they mix well with both hot and cool palettes. For example, Ageratum ‘Blue Danube’ provides a vivid edging for beds and drought and deer resistant Salvia. ‘ Vista Purple’ can be tucked among taller perennials.

Fall Flowers

Remember also to be on the lookout for small perennial mum plants in the nurseries. Planted now, and pinched until July, they have time to become bushy so that they bloom well in the fall.

Since their roots have plenty of time to get established they also are more likely to winter over than large mums planted later while in full flower.

Also pick up some dwarf aster plants now. When they flower next autumn, you will feel quite virtuous. It is less expensive, and also more satisfying, to nurture these classic fall bloomers to maturity in your own garden.

Moya Andrews

, originally from Queensland, Australia, served as Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculties at Indiana University until 2004. In the same year, Moya began hosting Focus on Flowers for WFIU. In addition, Moya does interviews for Profiles, is a member of the Bloomington Hospital Board, and authored Perennials Short and Tall from Indiana University Press.

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