Preparing Your Garden for Fall

With the most intense of summer’s heat behind us, it’s time to start preparing your garden for fall. Adding a few seasonal plants will carry your yard from the first of fall through the winter with pleasant pops of color.

Prepare your flowerbeds for fall plants

When preparing your garden for fall, the first step is to assess how well your work in the spring did. How did your spring and summer plants fare in the heat and intense sun? It will be helpful to take note of what plants did best for next year’s spring planting.

Remove annual plants that aren’t hardy enough to survive the winter. Seeds from many of the annuals can be saved for next year, should you decide to revive them next spring. Once you’ve cleared away summer annuals, you can plan for cool-weather annuals.

Start by preparing the soil. Clear any weeds away and consider treating the soil with a weed preventative treatment. Add mulch wherever you have removed annuals.

You can start adding fall plants immediately after Labor Day. Even though it may still be warm, the most intense heat is behind you. The warmth in early September will give the new annuals a chance to form deep roots before the weather turns colder. Plus, because the soil is still warm, fall plants usually begin to thrive faster than spring plants, which often wait on soil to warm up before they begin to flourish.

Fall varieties to consider

Traditional fall flowers will feature blooms that are just as beautiful as spring and summer annuals that add some variety to your garden.

Perhaps no flower is as closely associated with fall as mums. These festive flowers come in bronze, crimson, white, gold, and purple. If you’re ready to add a splash of color to your garden this fall, be sure to buy the right kind of mums. Make sure you purchase garden mums as opposed to florist mums, which are typically not hardy enough to survive a winter. With mums, the earlier you plant them, the more likely they are to survive. They need a chance to grow in the warm weather for a few weeks before the cool weather slows their root growth.

Celiosa is another bright bloom with feathery, vertical blossoms that can brighten up your fall garden. Although these plants can survive a hot summer, they thrive in the fall as long as they have full sun.

Pansies are also perfect for fall planting. They serve as a bright ground covering flower that will survive even hard freezes, so you can expect to see them flourish all winter.

For all of these plants, make sure to add mulch layers around the base to help insulate the plants from frost.

Festive fall décor

Once you’ve added fall plants to your garden, you can accentuate the seasonal transformation with a few festive decorations that welcome autumn. A collection of pumpkins can be a timely addition to your front porch or garden that celebrates the entire harvest season, so don’t feel that you need to limit the pumpkins to Halloween. Pick pumpkins in a variety of shapes and colors and arrange the collection around your doorstep or in front of a flowerbed.

If you have a larger area to work with, you can also add a bale of hay and arrange the pumpkins on it for a festive photo backdrop for any guests. Consider adding other fall elements, such as a scarecrow, a wheelbarrow or corn husks. These outdoor decorations are often available at home improvement stores and craft stores.

If you have a seating area in your garden, swap out bright colored cushions for some in the muted tones of autumn and replace container plants with mums or pansies, which will also do well as potted plants.

Don’t forget that the fall florals you added to your garden can make an excellent centerpiece as well. Pluck a few blooms and place them on your dining table or bring them to a friend. This can be the perfect way to spread the goods in your garden around.

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