Fall is an excellent time to show off your seasonal
favorites like mums, pansies, violas, and flowering kale or cabbage. Play with
colorful and dynamic combos of perennials, annuals and grasses to create
Use solid colored Pansies in orange and velvety black
to make the perfect Hallow’s Eve arrangement. Place in a black or silver
container for a super spooky addition to your front porch Jack O’Lanterns.
Use a variety of colorful Pansies
as a filler against an evergreen, like an Arborvitae or a Blue Point
Juniper, with a classical ivy, like English Ivy for a formal
Use different varieties of Dianthus to create a full
container – pair with a neutral pot to really show off the bold colors.
Make a MUM-KIN! Cut out the top of a pumpkin and
plant your favorite fall Mum. Use orange or yellow for a consistent
color scheme or add pink or purple for a deep contrast against the orange of
Strawberry Jar Planters can be used in more ways than one!
Plant Violas in different shades for an incredible ‘spill’ effect.
Create a sunny disposition, even
in fall! Plant yellow Pansies(with and without a ‘face’) to
create a trio of gold on your porch. Add a fountain grass for a ‘thriller’ to
really draw attention!
Have stairs leading up to your home? Create a stair-step
quattro of planters with Violas. Use different style pots with the same
variety of Violas to create a stunning look on your stairs!
Have fun with Succulents in fall too! Just like our Mum-kin
(pictured above) plant succulents in pumpkins and spray paint
the pumpkins in neutral tones to make these desert gems stand out.
This is a question
that has 2 very different and distinct answers:
the feeders down by mid-September
the feeders up until 2 weeks after you have seen the last hummer in the Fall.
Which is right? That is for you to decide for yourself, but here is the thinking behind each one.
Take the feeders down by mid-September so the hummers will leave on their migration and not stay too long because there is still an adequate food source.
This theory is based around the birds leaving due to a dwindling food source. When the summer flowers begin to wane and there is less nectar for them to eat it triggers them to start their migration.
If feeders are left out, this continues to give them a food source that they will rely on too long resulting in a late start to migration or worse yet not migrating at all. Birds who stay don’t make it through the winter since there is no natural food source for them.
Leave the feeders up until 2 weeks after you have seen the last hummer in the Fall so migrating birds can stop and refuel on their migration.
Scientists say that the birds leave not because of a lack of food source but because of their internal biological calendar. The shortening length of daylight in autumn triggers the hormones that cause hummingbirds to migrate. The birds become restless and the urge to migrate becomes too strong to ignore.
By leaving out feeders through September it gives them “refueling stops” on the way south.What to do? That depends upon who you talk to and what makes the most sense to you. Weigh in on your perspective, send us your thoughts by replying to the email.
Do you have bare spots in your yard where grass won’t grow? Under a large tree that is too shady for
grass? A slope or steep area? If you’ve answered “YES!” to any of these
questions, you may need a groundcover to solve your issue.
What is a groundcover? The definitive answer would be
“Any one of a group of low-lying plants with a creeping, spreading habit that
are used to cover sections of ground with minimal maintenance.”
Groundcovers can be used in so many ways:
mass plantings in your actual landscape,
adding color to a rock garden,
use in skinny walkway beds,
introducing new colors and textures to your
Also known as ‘Bugleweed’
This evergreen perennial (stays green all year) has a ground-hugging habit of growth. Ajuga sends up beautiful electric blue blooms that rise above its foliage from mid to late spring. It attracts butterflies but not deer. Ajuga loves to spread, plant in part-shade, and watch her thrive!
Also known as ‘Maleberry’
Japanese Ardisia shows off a rich, green color and dainty
clusters of pink star-shaped flowers at the ends of its branches during spring,
and red berries in mid fall. This multi-stemmed evergreen shrub is perfect for
areas that are shaded, moist and cool. Reaching a spread of 3 feet, this
part-shade to full shade lover makes for an excellent groundcover (and an
Also known as ‘Carex’
Sedge is a vigorous, mound-forming evergreen with striking,
grassy foliage. The gracefully arching stems of this plant bring a fine and
delicate addition to any garden. This groundcover is relatively
low-maintenance, and does well in partial shade or full shade, and spreads up
to 16 inches. Many native varieties of Sedge cultivar are right here among us
in East Texas! Sedge makes a great border edging, mass planting, and also works
well in mixed containers.
Also known as ‘Heuchera’
Coral Bells is an evergreen perennial with tall flower stalks
held atop a low mound of foliage. These tiny, delicate flowers come in as many
colors as its foliage does, from lime green to purple! This low-growing plant
is relatively low-maintenance and a good choice for attracting butterflies.
Coral Bells are perfect for containers, mass plantings, borders and rock
gardens. This evergreen can take full sun or full shade and can spread up to 18
Showing out in a rich, emerald color, Pachysandra is an
evergreen that looks amazing year-round. Spreading up to 1 ½ feet at maturity,
this perennial does best in part shade to morning sun. The bold, dark green
leaves make for a fantastic groundcover, or border for walkways. Small, bright
white flowers appear in early spring – though not particularly showy, the
flowers offer an ornate addition against the green background.
‘Blue Rug’ Juniper
This ground-hugging Juniper features silvery-blue foliage
that takes on a nearly purple tinge during winter and produces blue berries
from late spring to late winter. A dense, multi-stemmed evergreen, ‘Blue Rug’
Juniper is extremely adaptable and hardy – making for a great groundcover or
border, or even trailing over walls. A lover of full sun to part shade, this
Juniper can reach a spread of up to 7 feet!
Also known as ‘Moss Phlox’
Creeping Phlox puts on a show of bright, cherry red, blue or
white star-shaped flowers at the ends of the stems from early to late spring.
It’s tiny, needle-like leaves remain green in color throughout the year. This
evergreen blanket of flowers does best in full sun to part-shade, which makes
it perfect for border edging, mass planting or general ground cover. At
maturity, Creeping Phlox can spread up to 18 inches.
Ground cover sedums are a form of succulents that are winter
hardy and stay green throughout the year.
These are heat loving plants that grow well in full sun or partial sun
and are drought tolerant! They come in a variety of colors, some have
variegated leaves and bloom in late Summer through Fall. Use in rock gardens, as ground cover in
landscape beds, as spillers in containers or in hanging baskets.
Also known as ‘Ice Plant’
This is a multi-purpose plant with succulent type foliage. It blooms in bright colors from Spring
through Fall, stays green throughout the winter, loves full sun and heat but
will also perform in partial sun. Good
for rock gardens, a spiller in containers, and in hanging baskets.
Standard Mondo Grass
This old standby is an evergreen perennial with grass like
stems and small purple flower spikes which bloom throughout the Spring and
Summer. It is slow growing and spreads
through runners. It can be easily divided
and moved to other areas and requires minimal care once established. Mass plantings are striking – giving the
appearance of a deep green lawn. Plant
in shade or part shade.
This woody stemmed favorite grows well in a variety of soils
and conditions. It is a great erosion
control on slopes and on the side of creeks or ditches. It can be cut with a weedeater or even with a
mower set on the highest setting if it becomes too tall for the area. Plant in partial sun to full sun.
Another shade loving groundcover which keeps its dark green
color year-round. This plant runs along
the ground and sets roots along the stem.
It can become invasive and grow up into trees if not contained.
Evergreen flowering herb that is covered with a blanket of
pink-purple blossoms in the Spring. It
can handle some light foot traffic and reaches a height of 3”. Grows in full sun to partial shade.
While more MAY be better in some cases, it’s not better to have more in your landscape. Not spacing out your plants and over-filling them may offer instant gratification for the first year your new plants are in the ground, but in two years, your plants will begin to die because they’re fighting for space and nutrients. This common mistake is a HUGE WASTE of time and money.
HINT: Fill in empty spots with annual flowers until your shrubs mature!
Not Knowing Your Landscape’s Needs
You’ll want to have an idea of what your yard requires and then choose plants that fit those requirements. How much direct sunlight does your yard get daily? Is your soil clay-based, sandy, or rocky? Are there any water restrictions? Are there drainage issues? Knowing the answers to these questions can help you make the best choices for your landscape. There is NO REASON not to research and learn more about the plants you are putting in your landscape. Planting shade plants in sun, or sun plants in shade is an inexcusable snafu in any landscape.
Starting Without A Plan
Don’t go to a Garden Center with a “my heart will guide me” mentality. This will lead to over purchasing and a major loss of money. You’ll also run into issues during your landscape install that could’ve been solved by planning ahead.
Not Paying Attention To The Style Of Your House
Your landscape should complement your home and increase your curb appeal! Different landscape styles work better aesthetically, so always use the look and structure of your house when deciding on garden bed shapes (i.e. A farmhouse-style home won’t work with a formal landscape). Unsure where to start?
HINT: Use a garden hose to help aid in the process of figuring out the shape of each bed; lay out the hose on the ground and use it as your guide, it’s soft and can follow the curves of your house, leading to perfect garden bed shapes.
Planting Too Close To Your Home
When planting, you must bear in mind that bushes, trees and plants WILL get bigger! Where you plant them is SO important – typically, leaving a minimum of 1-3 feet between your plants and your house. Ignoring how large a tree or bush will get can lead to walkway, sidewalk and foundation damage – or, even worse, it can rot your siding, allowing moisture and bugs to creep into your home. Not cool.
Relying On Pinterest To Do Your Landscape
It is SO EASY to get excited and jump into a project when you scroll through Pinterest. HOWEVER, you need to keep in mind the time, resources, and money that go into the ‘simple’ photos you see online. While it can be helpful for ideas, you have to get real about where you and your yard are located zone-wise and how much the project will cost overall.
This stuff is mushy and disgusting when it is wet; but when it is dry, it takes on a form almost like concrete. Worst of all? It’s completely nutrient deficient.
Red clay soon becomes waterlogged during rainy weather. When soil stays wet, the water can cut off the air supply to roots, as well as to microorganisms in soil that are important to your plant’s well being. Root rot, suffocation, and many other diseases can occur.
Adding to the plant’s misery, when clay soil finally does dry out, roots struggle to spread through the hard soil. How can a poor plant survive?
Don’t give up! While you need good drainage for plants to survive, having red clay soil and nice plants in your landscape isn’t impossible!
With a little prep and TLC, you can grow beautiful shrubs, just by enhancing the texture and drainage of your soil.
Below is a drawing, courtesy of Encore® Azaleas of how to prep and plant shrubs in clay soil!