Fall is here. The days are cooling slightly and the evenings have turned to sweater weather. You would think that those summer pots would be loving this weather, too, but many of our summertime pots are looking a little past prime and in need of some refreshing. Without dumping everything, you can spruce them up for the fall months with a few tricks of the trade.
First of all, clip dead branches, snip spent blooms (you may get new blooms by doing this), and trim dead foliage. Simply by doing this, you will see your plants respond by throwing more energy into healthy, fresh leaves. Next, if you have not been feeding your plants all summer, give them a little love with some fertilizer or Miracle Grow. They are not ready to give up yet for the winter and are begging for nourishment.
If you had to remove too much, or all of, any one plant, you may find that you have created a hole that needs to be filled. You can fill the hole with another plant or with an object. If you choose a plant, look for something seasonal such as chrysanthemums, pansies (which will continue to bloom into early spring), or ornamental kale. For instant drama, consider adding an ornamental grass which will elegantly move about in the breezes of autumn. Deeply hued Purple Fountain Grass is striking and easy to grow.
Or, perhaps, take advantage of the blank spot left by a plant removed and get a jump on spring by planting a few tulip or daffodil bulbs. These will take a while to show their green tips, so add an object such as a small pumpkin or several gourds to your greenery for the fall holidays. To add visual interest, if needed, insert stakes of varying heights into the pumpkin or gourds and nestle them among the leaves. Add sticks, curly willow, berry branches, or seed pods for textural interest and height.
For options to natural items, open that door to your planter box and begin thinking outside. Nestle a small bird house among the plants; You may find that it does not remain vacant very long. Add a gazing ball, a garden sign, or old tea cup filled with bird seed–the birds will appreciate an additional source of food.
Now is the time when the growing season for summer annuals and perennials slows but that does not mean they are ready to be tossed. Your objective is to maintain your pots as long as you can before the first frost arrives but, at the same time, make sure they are artfully and attractively composed–without spending either the time or money to start completely new. Have fun finding the right combination to rejuvenate your season-transitioning pots. And, don’t forget to take pictures of your creative genius–you may want to do it again next year.