Drive around High Meadows Golf & Country Club, and you’ll start to notice something — we love our flowers. Thanks in part to the cooler temperatures we enjoy up here on the mountain, as compared to our neighbors in the Piedmont section of North Carolina, our perennials and annuals bloom like crazy all summer long. But this time of year, the nights get cooler and some things start to wilt. Eventually the frost comes and nips everything back. But that doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy color in your landscape!
We thought we’d share a few tips for fall landscape maintenance and some ideas for keeping the color going all winter long.
Before you get started planting anything new, now is the time to do the garden clean up that you’ve likely been putting off during the hot, humid days of late summer. Pull out the annuals from your flower beds, and get some good clippers to cut back your perennials to about one inch above the ground. It can be hard to remember where your plants are come spring, once they’re cut back. Now is a good time to put out plant labels to be ready for the next season’s growth.
This is a good time to freshen up your mulch as well. This not only helps keep your landscape looking pretty, but also helps insulate and protect perennials from the fast freezing and thawing cycles of the really cold nights in deep winter.
If you’ve ever been in a gardening class or subscribed to a gardening magazine, you’ve heard the motto “Fall is for Planting.” That’s because when you plant perennials, shrubs and trees this time of year, the roots get a chance to grow all winter. Then when spring comes the plants are strong and ready to take off with new growth. It’s also a great time to plant because many of the garden centers will have plants on sale.
It’s not just perennials and shrubs you can plant now. Fall is also the perfect time to plant spring-blooming bulbs. Plan now for spring color by planting daffodils, tulips and hyacinths. These work great in a flowerbed or in pots.
Add Some Color
Don’t despair when you pull out those annuals and cut back your perennials. It’s not the end of color in the garden or on your patio. Right now is a great time to plant cold-hardy annuals such as pansies and Johnny Jump Ups in your flower beds and pots. The great thing about these flowers is they bloom all winter long, so that when spring comes you already have a ready-made garden. Chrysanthemums are another fall favorite, and the color variety of both types of flower seems to grow each year.
Preserve Summer’s Color
If you’re loathe to leave the colors of summer behind, you can always dry your flowers and herbs to enjoy them well into the winter. Drying flowers or herbs is relatively simple. You just tie a bunch together and hang it upside down in a cool, dry place for about 10 days.
With herbs, crush the dried leaves and store in an air-tight container to use in winter soups and stews.
Take the flowers you’ve dried to create beautiful arrangements to liven up your living area. Or for the more creative of you, try your hand at Southern Living’s dried flower wreath.