In upstate NY we are beginning to baton down the hatches and scurrying with the squirrels in preparation for winter. Most of our gardens have diminished to woody overgrown bean plants, snail infested tomatoes, and dots of fleshy hubbard squash waiting for harvest. But with the right planning you could marry aesthetics and practicality to make a smooth fall garden transition into winter.
Right now in bloom you may have intense purple or red salvia, mums on the cusp of blooming, or attention stealing kale. These are all easy to grow and bring the garden from summer to fall with great color selections. So just weave some of your fall plantings right in between the magic of the pre-existing plantings. For example, try sneaking in more ornamental daffodils and tulips or useful bulbs of garlic. They all need the cold winter resting period and reward your patience in the following seasons with color, fragrance and food! If you are a gambler than there is always a betting chance that a crop of lettuce or radishes can be squeezed out before the frost if they are planted late August or early September. The summer sun has already warmed the soil so roots grow twice as fast in the fall than spring!
Color and texture are the real fall favorites in our region. Mums are a staple in our climate. We depend on their resilience to pests and drought and love their consistent, dependable manor. So if you want to spice up an oldy but goody, try contrasting colors around the mums or something more posh like an assembly of secondary colors. I just love autumn peach, lavender, and fresh green. Add an assortment of gourds or squash for an inexpensive ornamental flair to punctuate your gardens or window boxes. The best part of this time of year is that anything goes. Dried components mixed with fresh, herbs with ornamental, and annual with perennial. Think outside of the box and figure in some great transitional plants and mediums to help keep your Autumn spirits soaring.