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You Made Your Bed…

You made your bed, now grow some pretty fall flowers in it! The same flower beds that supported all those fabulous spring and summer blossoms can keep your landscape from being drab and boring this fall and winter. It’s not too late to plant some color for the new season, but hurry. The days are getting shorter!

First things first. It’s time to get rid of all the outgoing plants.

That goes for the container plants, too. You can leave the established, evergreen perennials in place if they’re healthy and attractive. They’re the anchors of the bed or container.

 

Pulling up summer annuals whose time is up is like saying goodbye to old friends. But you’ve got to let go of them, even if they still look good, to make room for the new season’s flowers. Off they go.

Fall is a good time to tidy up the flower beds and clear out any dead plant matter or other debris in vegetable gardens, too. Rotting plants left for the winter can attract pests and diseases you’ll have to deal with in the spring.

If you have concerns about the soil condition, composition or drainage in your beds, go ahead and take care of those issues now. Getting your soil tested now will give you time to make any adjustments needed by spring. Adding an inch or two of aged manure or compost will enrich your beds if they need some extra love.

Shopping for fall and winter color at the nursery is fun. Among the best choices are pansies and snapdragons; sedums, which are succulents; and dusty miller, appreciated for its silvery foliage. Other options include delicate-looking-but-hardy violas and, especially for borders and edgings, sturdy, robust ornamental kales and cabbages, which offer great contrast.

Buy the healthiest looking plants available. They should be compact—not leggy. Pop a few out of their containers to see the roots, which should be white, not brown.

Pansies and violas are amazing—beautiful and very winter hardy. That’s why they’re among Georgia’s most popular bedding plants. These cool weather annuals hold up beautifully through the winter in Northeast Georgia except in the most extreme cold pockets in the northern tip of the state, and have a bonus spring bloom to boot. They’ll usually weather temperatures down to the single digits, and there are even some varieties that have been bred to handle light snow!

Oh, great! Dave’s here with the violas!

When arranging plants in pots, I leave them in their growing containers while I play around with the design and placement. When I get the look I want, they’re ready to go into the soil.

Staging all the pots on top of the bed first provides a bird’s eye view of how everything will work together, from the colors and heights to the ratio of flowers to foliage to the distance between plants—did we buy enough? By the time Robin digs the first hole, we know the fall garden is going to be a blooming success.

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