Fall Color Gardens vs. Fall Annuals, What’s the Difference?

Fall has arrived at Hammock Gardens Nursery!

Are you ready to refresh your Summer-tired landscape? Now that the cool weather is creeping in, fall annuals will start growing better, faster and be ready to get into the ground or containers.  If you are anxious and want fall color before all the annuals are ready, here is a list of plants and flowers that can give you that harvest fall color of rich bronzes, bright yellows, purple, reds & burgundy:

Crotons, Creeping Jenny, ‘Little Ruby’ alternanthera, Marigolds, Fountain Grass, Sweet potato vine and Mums 

These plants will give you joy and autumn color from September through December or until our first cold snap. Depending on where you live or if your container is protected from the cold, they may or may not get damaged in the cold.

Here in Florida, we consider fall to be the second planting season.  If you get your fall annuals in early, you may have color from fall, winter and into spring! Try to plant your fall annuals in by end of November/ early December.  Here's a list of plants that give you great fall color in planting beds and containers:

Geraniums, Petunias, Proven Winner’s Supertunias, Petunias, Dianthus, Alyssum, Snap Dragons and Flowering Kale, Cabbage, Dusty Miller, Verbena, Violas, Pansies, Baby Sunrose, Sedum, Crown of Thorns, and Proven Winner’s Blue My Mind (Blue Daze).

If you live in the area of Palm Coast, Florida- Please join our next Fall Container Garden Workshop on Saturday, Nov. 14th, 10-11:30am, cost $25.  Learn how to create your own artistic fall container garden, what soil to use in containers and how to care for it.  With assistance, create your own fall container garden to take home and enjoy for the season!

Understanding Mother Nature

My first blog….

Although I wanted to jump right into the fall season, my first blog needs to start with understanding Mother Nature.  After dealing with an extremely hot, wet and long summer in Florida this year- I am excited about all the new fall color coming in and can’t wait to talk about it!  Look out for my next blog focusing on the difference between fall color and fall annuals. Understanding your environment will lead to successful gardening.  Knowing how to work with Mother Nature and not against her is the key- Mother Nature will always win! Stop throwing your money away on plants that are not right for your area!

Most of our customers come from “somewhere else.”  Whether it’s the New England area or as close as Georgia, we are in Northeast Florida.  Right away, if you are new to this area- you think “Florida” and you think “everything grows year round” and “all” palm trees will grow here.  Not the case!  Sure, all of our trees do not change colors and drop their leaves.  Most actually do stay green during the winter.  Understand that we are 4-5 hours north of Miami.  This means we can get 10-15 degrees cooler in the winter months (Dec.-Feb.).  We also have micro climates here and challenges of the salt winds.  That’s the price of living in paradise!

In my next few blogs, I will try to educate my customers.  Whether new to the area or maybe you’ve been here awhile and want to be a better gardener! 

When I train my staff, I tell them “play detective”- before suggesting plants to customers ask lots of questions:

  1. Do you have deer in your area?
  2. Do you live by the water- salt spray?
  3. What’s your sun exposure?
  4. What is your height/ size requirement?
  5. What is your expectation of this plant?  Do you want it to last for years or seasonal color?
  6. Who will water your plants?  Do you have a sprinkler/ irrigation system?
  7. Will you be here for at least two weeks to water it in by hand until your system can take over?