Autumn Accents

Expert Tips

The autumn palette lends warmth through rich hues of gold, amber, crimson, orange and dark green. Combine fall colors with interesting textures and shapes through natural accents ranging from ornamental grasses to bittersweet branches.

Just because the days are growing shorter – and, all right, colder – doesn’t mean that it’s any less enjoyable to spend time outdoors tending to your lawn, gardening and containers. The summer blooms may be faded and some of your vegetables may be picked (or even pickled by now), but you can transition your garden right along with the season.

  • From now through mid-October, it’s a good time to plant trees and shrubs, because the soil tends to be warmer than in the spring after winter’s thaw and because typical fall moisture and precipitation help trees and plants establish roots to grow and thrive. Certain varieties of trees do especially well with autumn plantings, such as elm, honey locust, maple and crabapple, along with pine trees and spruce trees, among others.
  • When planting a fall container, complement traditional autumn plant colors with ornamental grasses, berries and vines and branches, like bittersweet and dogwood. Kale and flowering cabbage are also beautiful, hardy additions to fall containers, as are flowering plants like sedum and coleus.
  • Create a container that uses plants in the same color family, such as a vessel teeming with bright yellow pansies and other cooler-weather plants, or a pot brimming with a variety of purple and burgundy plants and grasses.
  • Nothing against the traditional orange pumpkin or acorn squash, but you can find all kinds of unique pumpkin varieties in a range of sizes, shapes and colors to lend some seasonal pizzazz to your containers or early fall doorstep Some pumpkins and gourds will last several weeks, but if you buy smaller ones, it’s not too costly to switch them out after a few weeks and leave them out until Thanksgiving.
  • Bring some of the outdoors inside, by creating an indoor arrangement using some visually interesting cuttings from your late-season garden. A dried hydrangea, for example, provides a distinctive shape and texture to an arrangement, along with items like birch branches, evergreens and grasses. If you’ve planted any corn in your garden this summer, be sure to repurpose those beautiful stalks!

Don’t forget to contact JULIE before you dig! Whenever you’re disturbing the ground, especially when planting trees, shrubs, groundcovers or plants, be safe and contact JULIE at 811.  You can also enter a “locate request” now via E-Request.  It’s free and crucial to avoid hitting underground lines, even in areas where you assume it’s safe to dig.

Dig Right Minute
by Tony Abruscato
Mr. Green Chicago