March Into Autumn While Preparing For Next Early Spring With Bulbs

We keep marching further into autumn and have even seen a few night temperatures fall down in the 40’s & 50’s.  These shorter days and cooler nights will soon trigger the changing of the colors and then the leaf drop on our deciduous trees and shrubs.  We still have almost a month of growing season left before the first hard freeze closes the curtain on the 2014 show of our tender flowering annuals and vegetables.  Many of those tender annuals and veggies are showing renewed energy with the cooler fall temperatures and are producing another round of flowers and fruit to close out the season.   The reds, purples, orange and other bright colored flowers are often the deepest and most intense colors of the year in the fall as the cooler night time temperatures really brings out their best color.  Not only can you harvest beauty and food from your spring and summer plantings in October but there are many cool season plants you can plant now to enjoy right away.

Hardy mums are a great tradition of fall in Oklahoma and bloom every year at this season as the short days turn on their “flower switch”. Chrysanthemums make a spectacular show in your flower beds or in decorative containers and once planted they will come back year after year with just a little care and attention.  The hard freeze will end their show for the year but a light frost just causes them to redden or bronze their flowers and even the foliage on most varieties.

Recent years have brought us a flood of new pansy varieties. Pansies are one of my favorite plants because they are able to actually provide color and brighten up our yards during fall and even through most of our normal winters.  Few things are more delightful then seeing the cheerful and colorful faces of healthy pansies blooming on a cold winter morning or even peeking through a light snow on a frigid winter evening.  Pansy flowers have the power to charm and encourage us though the dark, dreary days of winter in an array of yellow, blue, red, bronze, white and pink flowers.  The sooner you plant your pansies the more they can grow and be prepared for hard winter weather.

Plant ornamental cabbage and kale to produce great color and interest in your garden well into the winter. Plant tall fescue or rye grass seed if you want to establish a green lawn for the winter.

Don’t forget that fall is one of the very best times to plant trees and shrubs. If you need to replace or add trees to your landscape take some time to select and plant trees this fall to change your property and neighborhood for decades to come.  Nothing can change the look and feel of your property like trees and shrubs and they provide shade, cooling and windbreaks while looking good.

Shop now for spring flowering bulbs like crocus, Dutch iris, tulips, daffodils and hyacinths to create the best surprises next spring.  Just as pansies can help encourage us through the winter, the early season bulbs can give us hope and thrill our souls as we come out of winter and sprout into spring.  But to get the thrill of spring tulips and daffodils, we have to plant them in October, November or even December.  If you haven’t experienced the thrill of bulbs announcing spring at your home make a little effort now and get in on the fun next March and April.

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