fall and the feeling is fine — crisp cool days and
also the season to use container gardening to extend the
beauty and good vibes of autumn into your yard.
containers are a great way to add a splash of color to a
landscape that can be tired from the summer heat,"
says Grace Chapman Elton, director of horticulture at
Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden — www.lewisginter.org
— in Richmond, Va.
Lewis Ginter, we like to mix evergreen shrubs such as
holly, osmanthus and Indian hawthorn with cool weather
annual plants such as English daisy, violas, or
ornamental cabbages and kales. It is also fun to use
deciduous shrubs such as red or yellow twig dogwood that
have colorful bare branches, or winterberry holly that
holds onto its bright berries after losing its leaves.
Another approach is to add cut evergreen branches to
annual containers. The cut branches will last a few
weeks and when they start to dry out, just pull them out
and replace them with fresh cuttings."
Lewis Ginter horticulturist Shannon Smith, fall
containers are a transition that includes some plants
that can stay summer through winter. "At the same
time, I keep things fresh by including a mix of a few
other plants that come out and are replaced once a
season has finished," she says.
others, it’s all about fall vegetables. "I always
love mixing vegetables with fall blooming asters,
nasturtiums and grasses," says Heather Veneziano,
children’s garden horticulturist at Lewis Ginter.
easy and inexpensive way to add color and interest to
fall containers is to include painted and yarn-wrapped
southeastern Virginia, Marie Butler likes to layer bulbs
with daffodil and crocus under violas or pansies with an
evergreen and a series of seasonal decorations — a
mum, Halloween skull, Thanksgiving pumpkin and Christmas
is a traditional time for us, so a container needs to
evolve as the season progresses," says Butler, who
recently retired as a horticulturist with the Virginia
Zoo in Norfolk. "Best of all, the bulbs will
transition into spring."
hydrangeas are your passion, consider using stems of
them in containers with gourds and pumpkins at the base.
Proven Winners, a nationally sold brand of shrubs,
perennials and annuals, suggests a "cheater"
way to get a fall container: cut Limelight hydrangea
stems when they are still fresh and colorful and stick
them into any container that’s tired looking after
you use perennials or small shrubs in containers and
want to over winter them for enjoyment next year, here’s
how, according to www.ProvenWinners.com and other garden
Select a perennial or shrub that is two zones hardier
than the cold hardy zone where you live.
Perennials and shrubs outside your zone can be stored in
an unheated garage or buried in the ground for the
winter, or transplanted before mid-December.
Plants in pots need water throughout winter but avoid
keeping them wet, and provide good drainage holes.
Fertilize potted plants in spring when active growth
Fire, one of the newest reblooming Encore azaleas, is a
compact shrub suitable for large pots.
dwarf azalea, which blooms spring, summer and fall,
features dark-green foliage that takes on purple tinges
in winter, adding another season of eye-catching
interest. Its flowers are vibrant red. The plant, which
thrives in light shade to full sun (four to six hours of
direct sun for best blooms), grows less than three feet
tall and wide, so no pruning is needed.
planted in containers need good potting soil and
excellent drainage, just like all plants put in pots. If
you tire of Autumn Fire in a container, just plant it in
your garden and enjoy it for years to come.
Fire is one of 30 Encore azaleas available at garden
centers nationwide; learn more about the colors and
sizes at www.encoreazalea.com.