Master Gardener: Flowering plants, perennials add interest to fall landscapes
BY LISA KLEIN Ask a Master Gardener
Saturday, November 03, 2012
11/03/12 at 5:05 AM
Q: My landscape looks great in the spring, but I would like to add some interest for fall and winter. Do I still have time? E.M., Tulsa
A: So often homeowners wait until spring to do any planting, but for most trees, shrubs and perennials, fall is a perfectly good time to plant.
The milder temperatures and shorter days provide a hospitable environment for plants to establish hardy root systems. And there are plenty of perennial varieties available that offer good fall and winter color and interest.
Local garden centers and nurseries are currently well-stocked with mums, kale and cabbage, which are all good choices and are attractive for fall gardens. Most of the fall plants are used as annuals, though mums may be grown as a perennial.
Depending upon your planting site and soil conditions, there are some perennials you should consider planting now for next year's landscape. These plants come in many shapes and sizes and have different growing requirements, so it's important when making your selections that you pick the right plant for the right place.
The easiest way to add interest to the landscape is with flowering plants. If you have a shady spot, you might try ragwort, Japanese anemone or toad lily. If you need something for a sunny area, look at guara, asters, autumn sage or tink turtlehead. If you are new to gardening, try something relatively easy like coneflower or astilbe.
Showy foliage is another great way to add some interest. Variegated plant choices include white, gold, chartreuse, blue and purple.
Many varieties of hosta, sedum and huechera are available for our area. Ornamental grasses with their feathery plumes are show-stoppers and last throughout the winter if not pruned back.
If you like bird visitors in winter, you will want to consider something with berries or winter blooms. Pyracantha, winterberry and witch hazel are all good choices. Many spring and summer bloomers will have left behind spent flowers and seed pods enticing to birds, so resist the urge to prune. Keep in mind that if it looks pretty to you, it will probably look good to the birds, too.
If you have a garden-related question for the Master Gardeners to answer in a column, call 918-746-3701.
Original Print Headline: Flowering plants add interest to fall landscapes
Young trees with thin bark such as maples will benefit from tree wrap to prevent sunscald and "south-west" injury. This injury occurs in winter when the tree trunk freezes overnight but the sunny side thaws during the day, cracking the bark. Tree wrapping material is available from local nurseries and should be applied to trees at risk from October to March, the first two growing seasons. Remove before spring growth. Leaving the lower branches on newly planted trees for the first two years will also help prevent sunscald.
Continue to plant balled and burlapped, as well as container-grown deciduous trees. Contact the OSU Master Gardeners for instructions on how to plant them.
Brightly colored mums surround a swatch of blue salvia for some fall landscaping interest. BILL SEVIER/Courtesy