While the summer doldrums linger into September, it’s time to look ahead to fall in the landscape. Make plans now for ways to change up your yard once the true planting and transplanting has begun in late October through January.
If you’re like me, you probably have shrubs or perennials that didn’t perform well where they’re currently planted. I’m making a list of those – some hydrangeas, variegated Osmanthus Goshiki (also known as false holly), abelia, some smaller gardenias and a couple of Encore azaleas. These will be moved to new spots that are more suited for optimum growing conditions as the weather turns cooler.
Pull out your garden books or do an internet search for the plants you are concerned about to learn about their care. Most, like those mentioned above, can be maintenance-free once they’re established.
Have you planted shrubs, like mop-head hydrangeas, in too much sun? They prefer morning sun and a north-east exposure with protection from harsh winds, so October will be a good time to relocate them. And remember that mopheads, the blue and pink bloomers, need to be pruned right after they finish their summer show. I pruned mine, pretty far back this year, to make up for several years of no pruning. I expect a good flush of flower heads in July next year. They’ll get a good feeding with slow-release fertilizer as soon as the weather warms in April to push them along.
Are your ever-blooming Encore azaleas only producing blossoms in the spring? It’s time to move them out of the shade. Encores should provide an impressive show in the spring, then a more reserved flush of blooms in the late summer building to another fine display from August into October. However, they need full sun to do their magic.
Starting with containers for fall
Here are some newcomers to consider for fall plantings that are particularly good for year-round large container gardening. Keep them moderately watered and they will overwinter and be ready for spring and summer color:
Heart Throb Hydrangea – with dark-red blooms, this “mop head” variety likes part- to full-shade and grows about 3-feet by 3-feet. From Southern Living Plants.
Fool Proof Gardenia – compact and upright, this rebloomer has double white fragrant blooms and thrives in full sun to part shade. From Southern Living Plants.
Encore Autumn Fire Azalea – this dwarf reblooming azalea provides four seasons of color with blooms in spring, summer and fall, plus winter foliage that turns purple and bronze; it likes full to partial sun. From Encore Azalea.
Petite Knock Out Roses – a true miniature Knock Out that blooms fire-engine red, it matures at 18 inches tall. It’s perfect for containers or as a border near your front walk. They need full sun, and they’ll reward you with pops of color from spring until fall.
All container plantings require more watering than those in the ground. Even over the winter, make sure the soil doesn’t dry out.
These and other newly released shrubs are available at Lanier Nursery in Flowery Branch, as well as Home Depot. You can also order them online.
Hall County Master Gardener Expo
For a great selection of plants, from trees and shrubs to ferns and evergreens, visit the Hall County Master Gardeners’ Fall Garden Expo on Friday and Saturday September 23-24.
Taking place at Chicopee Woods Agricultural Center, vendors will be selling native plants, fall vegetable seedlings, garden tools and accessories.
Admission is $2 per person; no pets, please. For more information, visit www.hallmastergardeners.com/fall-expo.
Photo: courtesy Southern Living Plants