by Rick Vuyst
September is an ideal month for innovation in the garden. Fall Mums, Asters, Pansies, fall annuals and spring flowering bulbs arrive to help you rejuvenate your landscape canvas. It’s truly a stroke of genius to get your hands dirty in the garden this month. Plants put in the ground have plenty of time to root before winter and will be well established to perform in spring. Peonies, Iris and other perennials can be divided and moved, while Tulips, Daffodils and other spring-flowering bulbs can be freshly planted. Flowering shrubs, perennials and trees root well when planted this month. Here are some ideas for vibrant splashes of color for your landscape that you can invest in now.
Star of Persia
For an artistic stroke to your landscape, plant Allium cristophii (also known as Star of Persia) or Allium schubertii bulbs. You will be rewarded next spring with stunning arrays of color in dramatic fashion. People taking walks through the neighborhood will be sure to ask what those interesting flowers are!
For a pop of color, combine sub-zero pansies with spring flowering bulbs. The pansies are available in a kaleidoscope of colors and will bloom this fall. They will bloom again when the snow melts, and come spring the bulbs planted below them will grow through the pansies to flower above them. A bed of bright yellow pansies with purple tulips or blue pansies with yellow daffodils is a sight to behold in spring.
Plant ornamental grasses this month. They provide immediate interest and will establish themselves now for future enjoyment. Most grasses have inflorescence (plumes of flowers) in the fall, and the foliage will sway in the breeze, adding visual interest to your garden. Hardy and reliable as well as deer resistant, they can drastically change a landscape. Miscanthus “Morning Light” is a favorite.
Plant ornamental kale for incredible color through November. Although it won’t overwinter, it will flourish and bring you enjoyment through the autumn months. Your kale will tolerate some frosts and will even become more dramatic after a few cold nights. Plan on it looking vibrant all the way to Thanksgiving Day.
Colorful Mums can be planted in containers with bright stems of willow, dogwood or other branches poked through the soil as vertical interest. After the fall season, Chrysanthemums can be planted in the ground for winter, cut back and mulched to return next spring.
Henry’s Garnet Itea is a fun flowering shrub with long lasting red fall color. It blooms in summer and puts on a stunning show in the autumn year after year. Or, try an Oakleaf Hydrangea with its dark red to burgundy foliage on cinnamon colored exfoliating stems. When it comes to flowering shrubs, consider opting for a panicle hydrangea in September with “Limelight.”