The colors of summer flowers are slowly fading away with the onset of fall weather. But that doesn't mean that the beauty of gardens has to fade with it.
Deanne Adams of Freeman's Greenhouses and Florist on Belair Road said now is the time to begin planting winter annuals and spring-blooming bulbs.
"People are going to have to pull their summer flowers, which are going to break their hearts," she said. Doing so, however, means that winter flowers will be showier during their growing season.
Annual flowers can really brighten up a garden. Start with pansies, which should be planted at the onset of cool weather in late summer.
Winter pansies will still bloom in areas where the cooler weather lasts for a short period. Pansies grow well in borders and beds and can be grouped with other flowers. They can also be grown successfully in containers.
Pansies grow best in well-drained, rich soil in a sunny to partly shady location. Raise your bed by a few inches to ensure proper drainage.
Adams said ornamental kale and ornamental cabbage are also great winter annuals. These fancy-leaved plants are perfect for planting near doorsteps, decks and patios. They also grow well in ground beds and large plantings.
"This is also a good time to plant bulbs for spring blooming," Adams said. Among the heartiest bulb-produced plants are hyacinths, daffodils and crocus.
Contrary to popular belief, the time to plant spring flowering bulbs is now. Many people believe that planting spring flowering bulbs before winter will stunt their growth, but Adams said that is unfounded.
"Plant at the prime time, which is now," she said. "I didn't even have a problem with the daffodils this year."
Spring flowering bulbs should be planted before the ground freezes, in the fall rather than in the spring.
Fall planting allows the bulbs to be exposed to a longer period of cool temperatures, which is needed to spark the bulbs' growth process.
Even though cooler weather has set in, that doesn't mean that it's time to stop tending to gardens. Now is the best time to plant winter-blooming plants and flowers and get a head start on next spring's flower garden.
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