Alabama Gazette - The people's voice of reason

HOORAH FOR FALL

 

Barbie O'Neal, Gazette Staff Photographer

Hoorah for fall, as it is now upon us. When we think of fall, we visualize strong color. Our garden color scheme can be jazzed up with yellows, golds, purples, and oranges through several plants other than mums. Find purple in lantana, along with yellows and gold. Lantanas do well in the fall and have few requirements besides sun and are drought resistant. Just plant, water in really well, add a tad of fertilizer and watch them take off. Marigolds, both the dwarf and tall size, have a rich range of color from rusty red, pale and dark yellow. gold and orange. Get these in the ground now for an amazing fall show. All of these are good fillers for areas in the beds where you have to pull out vinca, begonias and other annuals. Salvias can be planted now for rich shades of blue to purple. These are perennials, and will return next year bigger and better. Mums can be purchased now full grown and in pots. I prefer to buy them rather than waste bed room by waiting from spring until now for the full grown plants. Mums are perennials and come back reliably year and year, but this may not an asset. Be forewarned that they are invasive if left in place. I mean to say they have a distinct propensity to literally take over the bed in a couple of years. I usually just pull them out and discard them after a freeze--quick and easy. After being a victim of such rampant growers which caused me to slave most of one spring to get them under

control, I thought a warning is warranted.

Plants to die for;

Sometimes appearances can be misleading in the sense that something very beautiful can as the same time very deadly. I was looking through some lists of common poisonous plants and the following seven were unknown to me to be in that category.

1. Delphinium - the tall majestic blue flower with spurred bell like blooms.

2. Larkspur - in the same family as Delphinium, with flowers in a color range of light pink, purple and blue.

3. Caladiums -with a broad range of colored leaves.

4. Monkhead

5. Common Privet - hedge.

6. Yellow Jessamine - the vine which lights up the woods in the spring with bright cheerful yellow flowers.

7. Golden Chain Tree - the long velvety bean pods.

Of course there are many others, but just thought I would shout out an alarm on these few.

PLANT OF THE MONTH: Sunflowers-Helianthus

We now see, arising out of ditches and in pastures, the sunny faces of many varieties of sunflowers. These are annuals one can sow from seed in the spring. The black eyed-susans are some of the most common sunflower plants, and these range all over our area. They make wonder cut flowers, and mix well with the wild purple iron weed. The giant sunflowers that I have had good luck with are Helianthus annus 'Soraya' which I purchased from a seed catalog. My problem is that I did not sow enough of the seed. Birds love sunflower seed just as much humans. It is a good sight to behold, swaying orange sunflowers in the beds with humming birds and bees enjoying themselves.

One of the main tasks in the garden for October would be to mulch and lightly prune any dead stems from your roses. These plants should be either beginning or in full fall bloom. Even if you have Knock-outs, mulching is a good idea in order to conserve moisture and protect the roots if we have a really hard winter. Pruning any dead stems from the roses will keep the shrubs healthy. If there is an errant stalk that needs pruning, cut it back to the main stalk. Cart off the dead plant material from the roses so disease will not be introduced.

GOOD GARDENING AND HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

 

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