Time for pansies and hardy mums

The State Fair has just concluded, the football season is in full swing, the days are getting cooler and shorter, and all signs point to fall in the garden.  Garden centers across the state are also getting in the fall mood with displays of pumpkins, gourds, tall fescue seed for green winter lawns and big selections of fall bulbs for spring color.  The garden stars of fall are hardy mums and pansies. Although we plant pansies in the fall they really are most impressive through the winter when they will bloom and provide cheer until we get very hard freezes in the low teens. It is really fun to see a pot of pansies in bloom on the porch or patio poking through the snow. Pansies don’t get very tall, only 8” – 12” in height, but they make a great and colorful fall and winter border along the front sidewalk or in your front flowerbeds. They are a cheerful statement by the mail box or yard lamps. They will do best in fall and winter gardens planted in full or mostly sunny spots 6” to 12” apart. Add a little bone meal or slow release fertilizer to assure a great show until the heat of early next summer wipes out your pansies.

Hardy mums are the most widely known plant of fall. No plant says fall and makes the colorful impact of garden mums. They are beautiful, whether planted in mass like those you see on the Oval at OU, west of the stadium in Norman or as a single mound of flowers in a front flowerbed. There are literally hundreds of varieties of mums available in many colors and flower styles. The hardy mum varieties are perennials that will come back year after year. Show your own design style by planting a number of the same color and style or plant an interesting mix of varieties and colors for a completely different effect. Most garden mums will create a mound of colors from 12” to 24” tall depending on the variety. The many varieties will flower from now until the first hard freeze in late October or early November. Hardy mums do best in a sunny area and make a great show in large decorative containers as well as your flowerbeds. They are fairly heavy drinkers and will dry out more often than most other plants so be prepared to water thoroughly and regularly.

This is a great time of year to get back out in the garden and enjoy the plant world as it puts on a last batch of new growth and prepares for the fall color show. You can help the show by adding hardy mums, bulbs and pansies to your yard.

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