Fall is in the Garden Center with Mike Darcy

September 18, 2017

Our weather has certainly changed quite quickly from being hot and sunny to cool and rainy. For me, I welcome some rain and so do my plants. It has been a long stretch with no rain and the soil in my garden is very dry. It will take more than some light showers to really be a benefit to plants. I am also hoping that this weather is short lived as I love the typical warm late September and early October days and also for temperatures that will allow tomatoes to continue to ripen.

This past weekend, I made a trip to the Wilco store in Canby to see what changes they have made in their garden center and I have to say that it does not look like spring anymore!

The garden center had a large assortment of potted chrysanthemums and if I had to pick one plant that signifies fall, it would have to be the chrysanthemum. To me, mums and the fall garden are a natural. I am happy to report that it appears Wilco feels the same way. I saw rows of potted mums in colors of red, orange and yellow. Some of the plants were nearing full bloom and others were partially in bloom with many tight flower buds yet to open. These mums would make a great potted plant for an entryway and also a probably much appreciated host/hostess gift.

As I continued walking down the ‘mum’ aisle, there was a grouping of fall asters. These are superb plants to have in the garden and their blue flowers make a dramatic statement. The plants I saw were in full bloom and, like the mums, would make an excellent choice for a potted plant at an entryway. These asters are considered a hardy perennial and after flowering they can be planted in the garden and should live for many years. They are an herbaceous perennial and after flowering, they can be cut back to the ground and should reappear in the spring year after year. They are best planted in a sunny location.

Ornamental kale is a very popular winter plant for our Pacific Northwest gardens and Wilco has a good selection. These plants come in a variety of leaf textures and often as the plant grows, and as the weather cools, the stems and leaves will turn purple. This is another excellent container plant for the fall season.

For purely ornamental purposes, Wilco has some great looking bunches of corn stalks. These were not ‘just’ corn stalks, as the ones that I saw actually had ears of corn on them. Several bunches of these corn stalks, grouped together, would make a very traditional and welcome fall statement at the entryway to a home.

These are just some ideas for fall color or decoration for gardens and homes. In my garden, there is still much blooming and I like to extend the season as long as possible, but I am also looking ahead to fall.