by Karen Rose Smith
October in Pennsylvania means change, not only because of shorter days and cooler temperatures, but because the garden landscape changes too. I’m always pleased to still find color in the garden from the plants that like cooler weather, even during sunny hours.
Zinnias (I probably plant about 2000 in the spring around Memorial Day) can last until the end of October, still brilliant with color. As they end and dry, clip off the blossoms to save the seeds for the following summer. I set them in a container and let inside heat dry them more before I shake out and remove the seeds. Profusion zinnias which are shorter and bushier are at their fullest and best in the fall.
Mums are the traditional fall flower. Some of our mums we've had since we moved into our house over 20 years ago. They come up each year. We haven't been as lucky with the newer plants but they last until frost and we always hope they'll bloom again with spring.
Coleus become even more striking as they grow taller and bloom. If you take cuttings to root them, you can plant them in small containers and you will have the plant for the following spring.
Pampas grass is the most beautiful this time of year with its tall plumes.
These “hot lips” salvia (this was our first year planting them) grew throughout the summer and are at their tallest and brightest now. We’re hoping like traditional salvia, they will pop up again next year.
Knockout roses have been bright, full and colorful this season. They bloom throughout the summer and still have full size blooms this late in the season. Their color keeps our gardens full of vibrancy.
Double begonias (zinnias in the background)are always a pleaser for a front border. They resemble roses. They have been blooming since we planted them in the spring. Sometimes they are difficult to find at garden centers.
Marigolds last all summer and right into fall. They like both hot and cooler temperatures. There are so many varieties, a gardener can find a color he/she likes.
I'm happy to announce the release of my seventh Caprice De Luca Home Staging mystery. This one is a holiday cozy. I'll be having a launch party for readers with giveaways, chat and fun on Tuesday, October 31. There will be giveaways all day and even more at the live launch party from 7-9 p.m. EST. I hope to see you there!