Well, fall is here in the form of weather. As crisp winds wipe through my gardens like a mini tornado snapping stems and burning leaves, it is clear to we gardeners that summer is coming to a close.
Late summer and early fall is both a happy and sad time for Newfoundland gardeners. The growing season is over and with it all our efforts begin to die away, slowly but surely.
Some plants are still blooming but with the dreadful summer we have had, those species flowering now really should have been finished weeks ago!
To look on the bright side we can all sit back and forget about weeding and fertilizing once winter comes; a well deserved break for many of us.
But before we all sit down and vegetate, as though we were a plant ourselves, we could be planting our fall garden. Mums, asters, and fall bulbs go in this time of year and since we’re still seeing a sprinkling of warm sunny days we best get to work soon!
In the past I have discussed fall bulbs and how to plant them — really not that complicated as long as you don’t space them like toy solders, all by their lonesome. Remember that bulbs are meant to be bunched.
This week I would like to highlight some unique fall bulbs that could be grown in almost any Newfoundland garden. One of my favourite types of fall bulbs to plant in any garden is the Tiger, Asiatic, or Oriental lily group.
These summer and fall blooming specimens can come in almost any colour imaginable and grow in zones 3 and greater. They simply need some rich soil and fertilizer to produce spectacular flowers.
There are numerous varieties on the market today but some of the most spectacular included: Salinas Oriental Lily ( reddishurple in colour), New Wave Asiatic Lily (spotless white), and Yellow Star Tiger Lily (rich, deeply spotted yellow).
Lilies come in a wide range of heights so planting almost anywhere in the garden is possible. The stems of these magnificent flowers also make them attractive for windy locations due to their strength.
Another great bulb group for fall planting is the Original English Bluebell. These lightly-scented, blue, pendant flowers display a unique bell shape. As the plants mature, naturalization into the garden is possible if soils are relatively rich.
These blue beauties are perfect companion plants for Daffodils and Tulips as they bloom in early summer, in a solid color sea of blue. If impact is what you’re looking for then bluebells are for you. Just make sure to buy lots.
Currently blooming in the Bonavista Public Garden is a member of the impressive Allium group. Alliums offer a wide diversity of colour, height, and blooming times for any gardener. They can often tolerate poor garden soil. Once established they will usually naturalize easily.
These flowering onions make ideal cut flowers and brighten the garden from spring to late summer in shades of white, pink, purple, blue, yellow and red. Some of my favourite varieties include: Drumstick Allium ( Ball-shaped heads of reddish purple), Schubertii Allium (unique starburst of reddish purple), Blue Drumstick (rich blue flower heads), and the famous Gladiator Allium with purple blooms slightly smaller than a child’s head!
So, simply because the winds are picking up, and the leaves are beginning to fall , it does not mean that the gardening season is over yet. Now is the time to plant for spring and summer 2012, hoping that summer will come next year!