Fall flowers, foliage offer regional colors of the seasonWritten by Duane Ramsey | | firstname.lastname@example.org
As summer fades and autumn approaches, it doesn’t mean your garden has to lose its beautiful colors and fresh foliage.
“You don’t have to go without color in the fall,” said Mike O’Rourke of Black Diamond Garden Center in Toledo, who is also the Garden Guy on Fox Toledo television.
Fall brings shorter days and cooler nights, but vibrant colors can still flourish in your garden. It’s the perfect time to plant hardy mums, pansies and many other ornamental plants that offer color and texture now and long after the first frost, according to Beth Fausey of The Ohio State University Extension.
“Many of these plants are richly hued with shades of purple, burgundy, red, orange, yellow and cream,” she said.
Most annual plants will tolerate a light frost, while some survive a moderate frost and overwinter in Ohio gardens to return in the spring. Those annuals include dusty miller, marigolds, pansies, petunias, snapdragons, sweet potato vine, ornamental cabbage and kale, with coleus being the most sensitive to frost.
“Most perennials are reliably hardy in Ohio when planted in the late summer or early fall before the onset of winter,” Fausey said.
Those perennials include aster, black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia), mums (Chrysanthemum), Bugleweed (Ajuga), Coral Bells (Heuchera) and Sedum, known as stonecrop. The Heuchera — or Coral Bells — offer bright green foliage with other colors. A new variety called Marmelade provides lime green and burgundy colors, according to Leo Wilhelm, who has managed the greenhouses and nursery at Black Diamond for 50 years.
“We grow many of our plants from seeds, cuttings or plugs here in our greenhouses. We grow 90 percent of what we sell in annuals and perennials at Black Diamond,” Wilhelm said. “We buy the rest from other local growers and greenhouses.”
He also recommends planting Sedums in black jack and purple varieties as well as Hydrangeas in french and woody varieties. The new Pink Diamond Hydrangea’s white flowers turn to coral, and the leaves change from green to gold and burgundy in the fall.
“It’s a great time for planting in the fall,” Wilhelm said, “The selection may not be as great, but you’ll find big sales in the fall at area nurseries.”
O’Rourke suggested planting ornamental grasses in different variegated colors that turn to a wheat color in the fall. The grasses require no maintenance and look good, he said.
Holly bushes, a broad-leaf evergreen with red berries, will bloom in the spring and offer red and green colors throughout the fall and winter.
The Andersons currently has a special on rose bushes for $10 each, flowering bushes and flats of pansies that will withstand the cool weather and light frosts. All three Anderson stores in Toledo, Maumee and at Woodville Mall have complete on-site nurseries.
In addition to gardening, autumn is a good time to enjoy the harvests of the fields, too. Pumpkins, gourds, corn stalks and straw bales can be combined with fall plants to make attractive displays, according to Fausey.
She provides fall gardening tips in her report, “Extending the Garden Season: Autumn’s Abundance” at www.abe.osu.edu or on the Web site of the Maumee Valley Growers (MVG).
A large group of regional growers formed MVG as a not-for-profit association dedicated to sustaining and growing the greenhouse industry in Northwest Ohio. More than a dozen MVG greenhouses and nurseries are open in the Toledo area.
Maumee Valley Growers are committed to marketing only the highest quality plants possible, increasing demand through awareness and preference of locally grown products.
Many MVG members sell fresh, locally grown bedding plants, hanging baskets and produce at area farmers’ markets held weekly in Toledo, Perrysburg, Sylvania and Waterville. Check the MVG Web site at www.maumeevalleygrowers.com for dates, times and locations.
Folks who can’t or don’t garden can see a complete variety of fall flowers and foliage at the Toledo Botanical Gardens. The public site, formerly known as Crosby Gardens, will hold its Fall Festival on Sunday, Oct. 14 from noon to 4 p.m.