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Gardeners should enjoy surprises

October 20, 2012

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People boast about their fall landscapes. They carry on about various trees and changing foliage. They coo over colorful chrysanthemums and simply adore purple asters.

While certainly these are the iconic plants of autumn, there are many other delightful surprises in the cool season garden including:

AMERICAN BEAUTYBERRY

This large native shrub has gracefully arching branches, which look especially beautiful when covered in berries. Spectacular, brilliant purple-colored berries line the plant’s stems from late summer through fall. A white-berried selection is also available. Beautyberry is an easy to grow deciduous shrub that performs well in part shade. It grows 4’-6’ tall and wide or larger. This is a low maintenance, low water use plant.

MEXICAN MINT MARIGOLD

An American native, this herb is drought tolerant and quite hardy. It performs well in full or partial sun in well-drained, preferably alkaline soil. The green leaves are aromatic (licorice-scented) and used as a tarragon substitute in cooking. This blooming herb covers itself in clusters of small golden-yellow daisy-like flowers from late summer until the first hard frost.

RED SPIDER LILY

These flowers are elegant and unusual. Blooms atop leafless flower stalks are 4”-6” across and range in color from deep coral red to orange-red. The flowers obtain a spidery look from their long filaments, which have distinctive anthers. The bulb’s narrow, strap-shaped leaves emerge in October following September’s blooms. Foliage fades in late April. Red spider lilies will grow in any well-drained soil. Avoid sites with standing water. Grow these bulbs in full sun to part shade.

BLACK FOUNTAIN GRASS

Mostly growing in lovely, fountain-like mounds, Pennisetum grasses are among the easiest ornamental grasses to grow in the South. They have long, narrow leaves and arching stems that bear fuzzy flower plumes resembling foxtails. Black fountain grass grows 3’ by 3’. It blooms in early fall until frost. Black fountain grass is easy to grow in full sun or part shade.

Resources: Weston Gardens In Bloom, Heirloom Bulbs For Today, Easy Gardens for N. Central TX

Call 817-579-3280 for info.

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Category: Horticulture Archived