October Glory in the Garden

October Skies Aster- Jan Johnsen 


 In my part of the world - New York State - October is when Mother Nature shines.  The days are shorter, the sun is low in the sky, but the weather stays warm enough for the flowering plants to hang on.

 I design and install gardens with October in mind because it is now when people have time to appreciate their grounds - it is too cold for the beach and graduations and summer parties are a memory. This is when people can stop and savor a garden. 

The design of Fall gardens is something I urge my students to master because these gardens prolong our enjoyment of Nature's gracious gifts.  

And, more importantly, they quietly trumpet the siren call of the garden muse who is about to take her leave...but not just yet.....she sticks around to give it one last show....


So in that vein, I am describing a little of what goes into making a autumn flower border... I know most readers simply enjoy the photos but maybe a few are interested in the 'gory details'. 

the holly backdrop here hides a deer fence

The flower border shown above is at the bottom of a long, gradual hill - thus, water collected here in great pools after a rain. It was wet and soggy a good deal of the time. Many plants would not have lived in this wetness so I had large amounts of soil brought in to create a high mounded bed to lift them above the damp conditions. 

Additionally, we had a 'field' of subsurface pipes (set in gravel) installed in front of the border to catch and carry away the runoff. We then graded and laid sod to create a lawn atop the pipes.

Please know it is always about the grading and the drainage..the plants come later....

Farther uphill I planted shrub roses - 'Sunny' Knock Out Roses and beyond is another flower border featuring Nepeta, Japanese wind anemones, garden phlox, goldenrod..


'Sunny' Knock Out Roses are three shades of light yellow / white...luscious.


One of my 'fave rave' perennial flowers for October (in my part of the world) is Japanese Wind Anemone...gently waving in the cool breeze. Its dainty flowers are the jewels of the flower world.




And of course some flowers of summer persist into fall and are actually more glorious now than ever...Lantana is a strong October performer.

White Lantana in October next to Blue Spruce globosum

also don't forget the berries! Winterberry likes it moist.. feeds the birds and is a native.


Love that winterberry...



and now that October is coming to a close...on to November!

Steinhardt garden bridge in NY in October -   photo by Jan Johnsen

I am speaking with Kerry Ann Mendez and Karen Bussolini at the Fall Garden Symposium in Stockbridge, Mass on Oct 20, 2016..
Go here for more info.














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