2010-08-06 / Columnists

The Diary Of A Green Thumb

Adding Spices of Fall to Your Garden
Commentary By Danielle, Danielle’s Rockaway Florist

With the lazy, hazy days of summer coming to an end, we find ourselves thinking of the rapidly ap-proaching fall season. Although still too soon- and not wanting to think of its coming, fall is just around the corner. I hate to reminisce of the cleaning, the pruning and the work involved in changing all things summer to all things fall. It’s during this time of year that I add small accents to my décor and additions to the garden to acknowledge the change of season and make the transition an easier one.

I pay close attention to my hanging baskets and potted plants. I clean and trim any withered or tired looking ends and fill in with an assortment of fall loving flowers such as celosia, coleus or sunflowers. Planting clusters of warm colors will be a wonderful introduction to the fall, and add the extra pop of color to spruce things up a bit. This time of year also finds me taking special care of my planters.

I like to feed them with a liquid plant food designed specifically for blooming plants so they will be plentiful well into the fall season. For your hanging baskets, I suggest something of lush green variety. My favorite this time of year is Springer fern. It’s a hardy green fern and again, very drought resistant. During this time of year it is common for a Springer fern to produce a stream of green berries that will turn bright red as the season changes.

An assortment of millets and grasses are also wonderful this time of year. The millet will survive well into the end of fall while feeding the birds that frequent your garden. Depending on how much available space you have, you can select the size grass that suits your landscape. For a small area, pick a variety that will enhance the space so you don’t overcrowd it. For those who are fortunate to have a larger garden, I say go for the fuller grasses. Some can grow as large as ten feet so be careful when selecting.

Make sure to add or replace the mulch or pine nuggets to your beds this time of year. Why wait for the winter to come. Being prepared will add greater results for your garden in the spring, and freshening up the mulch can give a clean finished look to a tired looking bed. As the fall season approaches and seasonal plants beome more accessible, adding some color to your landscape will do wonders for your self esteem. It’s up to you if your garden will turn heads or turn them away. I always like to throw caution to the wind and mix my beds with both perennials and annuals. Hardy mums come in a large variety of colors and will return after a long winters nap, but don’t plant them too soon. They prefer colder temperatures, so wait for the weather to stay steady with cooler days and nights. If mums aren’t your “thing”, maybe a Jerusalem cherry plant will do the trick. It has a beautiful display of greenish berries that turn a bright red as they mature. Some varieties even produce a purple berry. Certain types of ornamental peppers will have a similar show. For those who prefer colorful indoor plants- I suggest a croton. This plant comes with a rainbow of orange, red, yellow and green leaves whose color is deepened and enhanced by the sunlight. So a green croton plant will turn a variety of fall colors as it gets more sun. A croton can be enjoyed year round, so if it’s in your planters, make sure to bring them in before the weather turns cold.

Enjoy the last few weeks of your summer, but keep the changes of fall in mind as you sit by the pool with a drink in your hand. Feel free to visit, or write to us with your gardening tips at 436 Beach 129 Street, Belle Harbor. We are here to help!

If you are trying to find that special plant or flower to add to your beds and planters to make it stand out from the rest, stop in and we will be glad to share our advice on changes to your fall garden.

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