By William C. Welch
Garden mums, asters, and fleabanes can combine to make a striking fall display. Garden mums, such as ‘Ryan’s Pink’, may be selected now and will have time to develop prior to blooming in mid- to late-fall. Garden mums are hardier than florist types and often become perennials in our gardens. Their flowers range in size from small buttons to daisy-like or semidouble blooms. Blooms come in white to yellow, orange, purple, red, and pink. They mix well with autumn asters, which have blue to blue-violet flowers with bright yellow centers. The petals of yellow mums will complement the centers of the asters and fleabanes. Border these plantings with Mexican daisies, which has small, airy 1- to 2-inch diameter flowers in pinkish-white with a yellow eye.
- Wildflowers―The time is right to plant wildflowers. Either choose a wildflower seed mixture, or select individual types for your display. Select a sunny, well-drained location. Mixing wildflower seeds with cornmeal enables you to see where you sow the seeds. This trick will help you distribute them more evenly. Then till the soil lightly, and give them a gentle shower of water. To purchase seeds or seed mixes, visit www.wildseedfarms.com, or call 1-800-848-0078.
- Bulbs―Amaryllis may be ordered now and then potted for holiday displays in the house. They are available in a wide array of colors and patterns including red, orange, pink, white, striped, and speckled. Have at least an inch of media between the bulbs when planting your pots. Commercial potting media works best.
Central, West and South
- Irises and daylilies―Dig up existing clumps and separate them into individual plants. Save the youngest, most vigorous parts for replanting. Prepare the soil by incorporating organic matter into the top 8 to 10 inches and adding a controlled-release fertilizer according to label instructions. Arrange the transplants in elongated masses of five or more plants, and water well.
North and East
- Spring color―For masses of seasonal color select anemones and ranunculus to plant now. Prepare the soil properly and choose a sunny, well-drained location. Plant them 3 to 5 inches apart, and water well. Tazetta-type narcissus that are planted now will bloom in February and March. Select narcissus that will naturalize such as ‘Grand Primo’, ‘Golden Dawn,’ and campernelle jonquil.
Central, East, and South
- Vegetables―Plant cabbages, broccoli, parsley, collards, red mustard greens, green onions, and Swiss chard transplants now. Direct-seed mustard greens, turnips, radishes, spinach, and lettuces. To stagger your harvest, sow small amounts every three weeks.