In late September our gardens can begin to look tired…or they can be a celebration of the glorious Cape Cod fall season. The difference between the two is a matter of some cleanup, creativity, and selective planting. Here are some photos that illustrate what I mean.
It’s time to do a quick clean up in the perennial beds. If the plant is no longer looking good, it can either be cut to the ground or just cleaned up by clipping off the flopping and browning stems. The exception to this is any plant that has “woody” stems such as lavender and Russian sage. Browned daylily stems and leaves, Echinacea stems, and peonies are just a few of the perennials that can be cut to the ground now.
At this time of year look at your landscape and see where you could use perennials that flower every fall. Perennial asters (on right) or the native Vernonia (on left) bring the lovely fall purples that compliment orange and yellow foliage.
It’s smart to plant ornamental kale and cabbages in perennial beds around plants such as peonies. You’ll enjoy the white, purple or pink colors in these plants well into December and often through the winter. Colors in ornamental cabbages and kales intensify as the temperatures fall.
Some plants can be fun to play with in the fall. Why cut your tall Miscanthus down when you could tie it up for fall and the holidays? First tie the grass clump together with a cord or wire, then add a decorative ribbon. You could use a fall bow through Thanksgiving and switch to a cheerful red in December.
Ribbon can be wound around the entire grass clump as well. Get creative and celebrate the season!