Monday, September 26, 2011

Fall Mums

Mums are an all time favorite flower in the fall because of their beautiful colors and   
perfect for mass plantings. To get the maximum effect from far away, stick to only one or two colors. Another possibility is to arrange a gradual transition of related colors. Look around your yard to see what colors would best complement the existing landscape. If you decorate for fall with pumpkins and gourds, choose orange, bronze, yellow, and creamy white mums. If you have a lot of evergreen plants that provide a backdrop of varying shades of green foliage, try bright pinks, lavenders, pure whites, or reds. With such bold colors, a large grouping of mums can excite even the most drab of fall landscapes.
Mums aren't as expensive as many perennials, so if you choose to, you can plant them as annuals without worrying that you've spent too much money on something that might not live more than one season. If you're an impulse buyer, you'll probably see pots of colorful mums this fall and not be able to resist.
Fall planting lessens the chance of winter survival, however, since roots don't have time to establish themselves. If you want something more permanent and are willing to provide proper care such as mulching and pinching to encourage compact growth and more blooms, plant mums in the spring and allow them to get established in the garden. This will improve their chances of overwintering and reblooming the next year. Some plants will even produce a few blooms in the spring before being pinched for fall flowers.

Ornamental cabbage

Ornamental cabbage is a hybrid flowering plant that produces red, pink, and white blooms in the cooler weather. They survive to temperatures as low as five degrees Fahrenheit. They are edible, although they are not as tasty as regular cabbage, and are mainly planted for ornamentation. Since they are low growers, they are often planted as edging plants. They must be started in the late summer to early fall to get the best blooming. They are often used as replacement plants in gardens and flower boxes for summer plants that are gone or dormant in the colder weather.   

Ornamental Cabbage looks very nice  in the garden with fall Mums

If you purchase the plants from a nursery, transplant them into your garden in September. If you plant too early, they will grow leggy and will not change color. Buy the larger plants as the cabbages will become root bound and the top portion becomes stunted and won't give you the growth you expect. Plant them in the ground about twelve to eighteen inches apart in a sunny area with nutrient rich soil that will remain moist but also well drained. The bottom leaves should actually touch the soil. Water well and cover the soil with mulch to retain moisture.

Friday, September 16, 2011


Cattails are wetland plants with a unique flowering spike, flat blade like leaves that reach heights from 3 to 10 feet.  They are one of the most common plants in large marshes and on the edge of ponds.
Under the right conditions, cattails can grow and spread vigorously.  The pollinated flowers develop into fluffy seed heads, blowing across a pond in autumn breezes.  Just as commonly, cattails spread through their root system.  The thick, white roots, called rhizomes, grow underground near the edge of ponds and in shallow swales.  As long as the water is not too deep, the cattails feast off the open sunshine and abundant water, storing a large amount of food in the root system.  In fact, cattails at the edge of pond can grow faster than fertilized corn in a field!  

Cattails are a nice addition to a fresh, silk or dried late summer or autumn flower arrangement. Cattail stems blend well with sunflowers, zinnias, carnations, Gerber daisies, roses and lilies in yellow, orange and brown tones.
Cattails give a line of interest to the bouquet while adding an unusual natural element. The tall stalks are best suited to large floral displays in ceramic containers or baskets.