Fall is a season for planting

By Pam Roy | Sep 26, 2012
Courtesy of: Pam Roy The fiery fall colors of Hydrangea leaf add interest to a garden this time of year.

Last night, the sun left my garden shortly after 7 p.m. I could grieve the end of summer, but instead choose to welcome in fall with its fiery colors and cooler temperatures.

Shorter days herald the arrival of autumn and the best time of the year for adding plants to the garden.

The typical rainy and mild fall weather creates optimal conditions for adding or moving plants in the Pacific Northwest. After a very dry August and early September, this time of the year usually brings enough rain to minimize the need to water new plantings.

Our typically moderate temperatures during winter are mild enough to allow root growth to continue. This gives newly planted plants a chance to set roots and get somewhat established.

When spring arrives with it’s burst of intense new growth, the plants are better able to respond to this.

The cooler temperatures of fall allow older established plants to be moved with much less risk of transplant shock.

This is a great time of the year to enhance a corner of the garden that just never seemed to come together, or to tackle an overall garden renovation.

Take a walk through the garden and notice where there is room to add a bit of color to brighten up an area. Consider adding some different textures to create year round interest.

Add a plant with colorful stems like Drimys lanceolata, with its dark green leaves and deep maroon red stems, or something with fall foliage color like Barberry “Orange Rocket.”

The Japanese maple “Osakazuki” has fantastic fall leaf color.

Most retail nurseries restock in the fall, bringing in truckloads of new plants to entice the gardener. Many of the local nurseries offer fall sales and discounts, which is another good reason to plant this fall.

The plants that have been sitting in the nursery all summer have been growing and a one-gallon plant purchased in the fall may be appreciably larger than that same plant was if you’d purchased it last spring.

September or early fall is also an excellent time of the year to seed a new lawn or over seed bare areas in the lawn. The cooler temperatures mean less watering and less stress for the emerging grass.

If weather is dry, the new lawn (and new plants) will still need to be watered, but will not dry out as fast as in the heat of summer.

Fall is also a great time to begin dreaming about spring projects. Consider having a professional landscape designer visit your garden for a walk-through consultation.

Receive the benefit of an objective eye suggesting what areas could be enhanced with some of the new plant varieties available.

Say goodbye to summer, and celebrate the arrival of fall by adding a few new plants to your landscape.

Pam Roy, owner of Planscapes, has been a landscape designer and horticulturist for 30 years in the Northwest. Contact her at 425-252-9469 or go to www.planscapesdesign.com for more information.

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