I like to walk the garden this time of year and see what will be turning color in fall and what will be there to brighten the winter months. To extend summer colors while we ease into fall, add “late season” perennials — those that will bloom until frost and some times beyond. Plants like Salvia follow this pattern and will regrow even if cut to the ground to stimulate fresh growth and flowers. Salvia guaranitica ‘Black and Blue’ is species that I often use. Its breathtaking flowers continue until frosts come. Hummingbirds love Salvia because it is one of their last food sources as winter approaches. Hardy Fuchsia, Rudbeckia and Echinacea are also in it for the long haul, often times peaking about now. They last until frost after blooming from mid summer on and then back next spring.
In anticipation of winter, vignettes of dwarf conifers and deciduous trees with interesting branching patterns — especially when well lit — are consistent points of interest especially when they are placed so that you can see them from inside your dwelling.
Also, with shorter, darker days ahead, make sure that path lighting is adequate and enhance outdoor focal points with lighting effects.
Several of my posts include watering tips, so even when the rains come, be sure to watch for adequate water levels. The light sprinkles in the Northwest may not be sufficient for fall plantings, so feel free to brush up by reviewing the watering tips from earlier posts or feel free to contact me for questions.
While you wait for the leaves to turn color, take the time to make these adjustments!
Michael Muro Garden Design offers garden planning and comprehensive landscape design in Washington state.