Here in Central Iowa the fall color is at its peak. It seams later than usual to me, but maybe it’s because of all the dry weather. When we usually think of fall color we think of all the trees and shrubs.
I hope this post convinces you that fall color is not just limited to trees and shrubs and to think about things closer to the ground, like perennials when planning your fall displays. There are actually more perennials than you might think that give us one last season of show. Some of my favorites include Willow Amsonia, Hardy Geranium, Bergenia, Sedum, Prairie Smoke, and Ornamental Grasses.
At first glance, these pink flowers of October Daphne Sedum are all you see, but if you look closely the foliage has some great fall color too. When planted out in the garden this one is putting on a great show in October, much later than most Sedums are blooming. (Sorry this pic is of some in pots!)
One of my favorite selling points of perennial geranium is the fall color, and this variety does not disappoint! Geranium cantabrigiense ‘Karmina’ is one of the best I’ve seen, but I’ll also include pictures of Geranium c. ‘Biokovo’ and Geranium macrorrhizum ‘Bevan’s Variety’.
One plant I’m always surprised to see fall color on is Prairie Smoke (Geum triflorum). It is a perennial that starts the spring for us with it’s smoky flowers, and is now helping close out the season with a show in fall too.
Gooseneck Loosestrife is a plant that I haven’t had the heart to sell because you need to plant it with caution and be diligent about keeping it under control, but this fall color is outstanding!
Ornamental Grasses are popular for late summer, fall and then even winter interest. I love to pair them with other plants that help accent each of their textures. Indian Grass (Sorghastrum nutans) in the background of these red winterberries is amazing!
One of my favorite Miscanthus grasses is Nippon. From start to finish throughout the year it is a winner. It is also one of the fastest clumpers I’ve planted, meaning it doesn’t take that many seasons to have a good size clump and show. I even noticed this week the individual blades are getting some amazing fall color.
I can’t finish out this post without a few things that are blooming right now. The temperatures have cooperated for these late blooms with only a few nights below freezing so far this fall. The colors with the cool nights are amazing, so anything that blooms this late is bound to be vibrant.
Some of my favorite fall combinations are grasses, seedheads of flowers (Coneflowers in this case) and something still blooming. I feel like I’ve accomplished my goal of having something “happening” in the garden at all times when these textures in combination make up the big picture. The white fluffy seedheads of Flame Grass (Miscanthus purpurascens), the vertical yellow blades of the switchgrass, the arching yellow flowers of the Goldenrod ‘Fireworks’ and the globular brown coneflower seedheads all together just have so much texture in this “Like Native” bed I have. As a bonus, there are still some Helenium blooming in the foreground! And if you think this looks good now, wait till we have out first snowfall- the seedheads and varying textures of all these plants look great all winter long!
But winter interest is another post all together, so I better get out and enjoy this beautiful fall day!
Tomorrow is the last outdoor market of the season. We still have a few pumpkins, sweet potatoes and tomatoes for sale. And of course our Farm Fresh Eggs and the last of the spring bulbs. Tulips are Buy One, Get One FREE!! Hope to see you at the North Grand Farmer’s Market tomorrow from 8am-1pm, just north of JCPenney’s at North Grand Mall, Ames.
One Wednesday before market I went out to the garden to pick what was left of the peppers. I planned on just running out quick getting what I could and then finishing to pack for market. Much to my surprise, I found tons of tomatoes! I couldn’t leave them knowing it would be the final harvest, so I spent 2 hours picking! There are just three markets left…hope to see you there!
I made this arrangement of non-hardy succulents this spring. I took it to market once or twice and then got tired of loading and unloading it. It needs a good home. One that’s not too hot (like your house at 70° all winter) and one that’s not too cold (like outside below freezing all winter), but one that it just right. A warm sunny porch, an east window of a breezeway, or if you want to make it really thrive—a nice warm greenhouse. I’m not willing to heat my greenhouse all winter for this guy, and while they do okay in the house, Nolan is sure to have it for lunch someday now that he’s crawling and almost walking all over the place! There are eight uniquely different succulents in four compartments. If you want to know what each one is, I may be able to identify most of them. The jar itself is a dark blue and is heavy pottery that is glazed with a rustic finish.
Let me know if you’re interested by dropping me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or calling our home at 515-432-5966. I’m asking $100 for it, but that could be negotiable!
We have been enjoying some very nice fall days lately. The last week has felt more like summer than fall, which I appreciate as it has allowed me to get more planting done in my garden. One thing I haven’t been able to plant yet is SPRING BULBS!! It’s just been too warm. The nice thing about them is that you have until you cannot dig anymore to get them in the ground. There will be plenty of true fall days ahead to get them planted. I’m actually hoping for a little moisture as our ground it terribly dry right now!
Here’s a sneak peak at the varieties I’m offering for sale at the farmer’s market. There are three Wednesdays and three Saturdays left, so get out sooner rather than later for best selection.
This is just a small selection of what is available. I have all the information you need about proper planting and I can help you design your spring bulbs into already existing beds. It’s the time of year that we have to “Think Spring” and forget about what happens between now and then (winter)! Plant these beauties now, and in the spring just enjoy!
All photos courtesy of Van Engelen Inc. and John Scheepers Inc. Bulb Companies