Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Fall Fever – keep it HOT!

Flirtation Orange Diascia takes the season out with a bang
Photo credit; Proven Winners


I love to see rich autumnale colors of burgundy, amber and gold in the garden at this time of year  and Proven Winners has several annuals, perennials and shrubs that fit the bill beautifully.
In fall, 'Little lime' gains warm tones
even as temperatures cool
Photo credit; Proven winners

Little Lime™ Hardy Hydrangea (Hydrangea paniculata)
A new dwarf form of the ever popular ‘Limelight’ hydrangea, the large summer flowers of ‘Little Lime’  open a soft green then turn pink and burgundy as the temperatures drop. This would look wonderful underplanted with one of the low growing sedums such as ‘Blaze of Fulda’, whose deep red succulent foliage and rich raspberry flowers would make a gentle color combination. Hardy in zones 3 – 9.

'Cheyenne sky' red switch grass in its
full autumnal glory.
Photo credit; www.PerennialResource.com

Nothing says fall like the feathery plumes and rich color of ornamental grasses. New to the Proven Winners® collection are three hardy grasses which offer beautiful fall color, a better habit, and improved garden performance over comparable selections.

Cheyenne sky’ red switch grass (Panicum virgatum) forms a tight vase shaped clump that turns progressively redder as the season progresses. At 2-3’ it works well in containers as a perennial alternative to purple fountain grass (Pennisetum s. ‘Rubrum’) but also makes a striking statement when planted en masse in the landscape. This would look gorgeous in drifts with one of the newer dwarf forms of sedum ‘Autumn joy’ such as 'Pink bomb' or with golden Black eyed Susan, asters or Chrysanthemums. If you need something a little taller, the ‘Dust devil’ switch grass may be the answer. This reaches 4’ but unlike many grasses is nicely upright, avoiding the need for staking. With blue-green blades flushed with pink topped by wine colored flower panicles which turn tan in winter, this will be a multi -season highlight for the garden.
There's nothing plain about this fountain grass.
 'Desert plains' offers rich color and soft plumes.
Photo credit; www.PerennialResource.com

I’m especially fond of the fountain grasses (Pennisetum sp.) with their tufty rabbit-tail plumes and ‘Desert plains’ fountain grass promises to become a new favorite. Unlike ‘Hamelin’, this variety has exceptional fall color with the fine blades turning shades of red, orange and gold, providing a striking background for the tan flowers. Provide full sun and watch it grow to 3-4'tall. Hardy in zones 5-9.

For a splash of color in containers, look to Flirtation® Orange Diascia
This exceptional autumn-colored beauty loves cool weather. The vibrant orange blooms of this variety are large and flat with a layering of flower upon flower that creates a stunning bloom display until a hard frost. The sturdy, semi-trailing habit makes it perfect for fall-inspired hanging baskets or containers. Diascia likes full sun or part shade and would make a good companion to one of the bronze grasses such as orange hair sedges (Carex testacea), pheasant tail grass (Anemanthele lessoniana) or autumn sedge (Carex dispacea).

Although 'million bells' may only be an annual, Superbells® Calibrachoa hybrids are a perfect choice to usher in the fall season with their warm autumn color choices and their superb performance in cool weather. Plant a container or hanging basket with one brilliant yellow, red, orange, or plum variety—or mix and match them in containers or the landscape. With growth habits that range from the small and compact to the cascading, Superbells create endless possibilities in the garden and a new feel for a new season. Remember that unlike the larger flowered petunias, million bells don’t need deadheading.

Superbells 'Apricot punch' is a favorite
of mine. Here it is paired with 'Bonfire
begonia' in a late summer combo.
My design and photo.

Proven Winners is a brand that I have come to trust for both quality and reliability. Constantly striving to bring stronger, healthier and better performing plants to the gardener, their selections are sure to bring success to beginner and expert gardeners alike.

Rather than letting your garden fade out quietly this year, extend the season with these fall highlights for a memorable Grand Finale.

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