Sunday, September 2, 2012

Around The Yard This Fall

I love fall.  It's such a refreshing time of the year.  The heat of summer fades away, the earth literally changes structure right before your eyes.  Shades of warmth renew the senses and the world turns calm and inviting.  I celebrate the days when I get to see holiday decorations fill the streets from October through to the new year.  I look forward to to the time I will spend with my family enjoy the best meals and most festive celebrations.  I know it's a time to renew my energy and my gardening.  I've touched on what will work best in a fall vegetable garden.  What works best to beautify the rest of the homestead as the temperatures turn cooler?  In my neighborhood the HOA holds a monthly landscaping contest.  It's meant to promote eye pleasing surroundings.  Which plants are best for sustaining and promoting a pleasing and colorful landscape as the days turn  shorter?

One of the most popular, and certainly my favorite, is the mum.  Timing is an important factor to insure beautiful blossoms and hearty plants. Mums are versatile and can survive in many conditions.  They are perfect container plants, as well as beautiful outdoor landscape. Late August to Early September is the best time for cultivating Mums in the yard.  Plant the seeds 12 to18 inches apart in soil fed with plenty of compost to give stalks plenty of room for growth.  Find an area that carries plenty of sunshine with well drained soil.  Once the seedlings sprout keep soil moist, but not over watered.  If plants become wilted and distressed they can deteriorate quickly. When plants begin to brown trim back to the excess to allow for fresh growth.  Mulch the plants after fall cycle is completed so they will again bloom in early spring for more beautiful color.

A perfect compliment for the mum are the numerous variety's of daises.  Like the mum they prefer the same well lite area with plenty of drainage.  It is best to wait until the weather is cooler before laying out a plan for the Daisy though.  Late September or Early October is best for these jewels.  In comparison the care and cultivation of daisy's and mums are particularly similar making them compatible house mates.  Choose a variety specifically hearty to your region to ensure success.  Place seeds 18 to 34 inches apart to allow plenty of room for growth.  Soil should be moderately energized with compost and moist conditions.  Daisy require slight to moderate water and plenty of sun to bloom properly.  Do not pinch of wilted heads to allow for stronger roots.  Once your daisy's have run the fall course of fall foliage be sure to mulch heavily for a beautiful Spring harvest.

You won't want to forget the ever popular sunflower.  This hearty creature is a perennial  like it's close companions the mum and daisy.  I have grown sunflowers and it was purely by accident.  Having discarded the water from my cockatiels dish into the garden it was no surprise to find a sunflower growing last spring.  It is best to have the plant in the ground by early September.  When germinating a sunflower you  don't want to just toss the seed in the garden.  It doesn't work that easily.  Wrap the seed in a paper towel and place it in a bowl of water.  The seed will begin to swell and sprout.  Keep the seed plenty moist checking on it every day.  When the seedling is about three to six inches tall it's safe to place in the garden.  Sow seeds at least 36 inches apart.  The stems of these plants will grow four to six feet tall and should not be allowed to over shadow small vegetation.  Provide at least six hours of sunshine, plenty of compost and proper drainage.  You will have the advantage of beautiful fall color and a healthy, tasty snack.

Roses may best be known for early spring planting, but fall is actually a good time to get started.  Be sure to protect bushes through frost with plenty of much.  If you already have established roses early fall is the perfect time to prune back the branches.

Oleander is so beautiful.  With it's low maintenance and ability to survive without water it became one of the first choices for my yard.  These bushes will bloom both in spring and fall, and sometimes throughout the summer hear.  Once the freezing temperatures begin cover the ground of the plant and keep yellow leaves trimmed.

Caladiums do not handle cold temperatures at all.  If you wish to save you plants for the following spring remove the bulb of the plant from the ground careful not to damage the root.  Lay the bulbs in a cool place to dry out.  Store for the winter in a dark dry location for replanting in warmer weather.

Iris should be cut back and covered with mulch once the weather turns cooler.  The foliage will begin to drop when the temperatures are cold.  Trim back the tall leaves as much as possible without damaging the roots.  Once the temperatures begin to turn warmer remove the mulch to promote new growth.

Elephant Ears can grown up to five feet tall in the spring.  Make sure yours will be around by trimming back all yellow foliage cover with at least six inches of mulch.

Weather you are looking for beautiful fall color, or tips to save your landscape for spring revival be sure you pick the right time, the right location and the right care.  Take care to be sure you have the proper climate to handle the glowing renewal of fall color.  If your goal is to spare you current fall landscape from frosts harsh effects remember that mulch will be your best friend.

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