Ready or not, mum season is upon us

As the days get shorter and kids go back to school, the start of cool evenings bring thoughts of nostalgia and comfort. The leaves have not started to change yet, but along with the buzz of pumpkin-flavored items coming back to stores, people are thinking about refreshing their gardens with fall plants, and dare I say it? MUMS!

Yes, mums are a staple for fall as a classic way to update your porch or wow people driving by with a large swath of color in your flower bed. Mums, with their many bold colors, are also complimentary to many other plants that shine during this time of year, giving containers an even bigger impact.

Long-lasting kale and cabbage, pansies, ornamental peppers and colorful grasses complete a look that can carry your fall color through the whole season.

Fall is an enjoyable time for planting because you can play with color and texture and don't have to worry as much about sun or shade while choosing your plants. The sun is not as strong as we move into the later part of the growing season, so the biggest factors that should be considered for planting are how and when you plan to enjoy the plants you are choosing.

Do you want them to last for Halloween? Are you concerned about frost? Are you bringing a smile to a friend with some Mona lavender in a grab-and-go, preplanted container? Knowing your answer can help you decide what will work best for your planting project. Here at Lurvey Garden Center in Des Plaines, our staff is happy to help you figure that out.

One of the questions we are often asked when a customer is planning a project is, "What colors go together?" In fall, aside from personal preferences, everything goes together! With your annual displays, you can choose to have a summer palette of colors such as pinks, yellows and purples, or you can embrace the warm tones that are reflected in the natural landscapes that showcase more of the oranges and golden hues. The transitional plants like annual dianthus, marigolds, calibrachoas and snapdragons carry their bright colors into the cooler evenings during this time of year.

If you are not quite ready to think about "sweater season" and pumpkins, these plants can help you ease into it. Snapdragons and such can be mixed with grasses and ornamental peppers, or even tropical crotons, with their bright red, yellows and oranges mimicking the look of the foliage as it starts to change.

The red, golden and purple tones in purple fountain grass and rudbeckias are sure signs of fall at its best. These are the next phase of fall annuals that really embrace the season. Along with mums and Mona lavenders, you can get a full spectrum of color, height and textures in the flowers and leaves.

Another classic along with mums are cool season pansies. A favorite in spring, these flowers are perfect for a finishing touch. Cool season pansies are versatile and embrace the lower temperatures and continue to bloom even as temperatures drop. They also work well as the temperature drops even lower later in the season.

Hot tip: If a container flower begins to fade later in the season, pop in a pumpkin or gourd!

If you're ready to embrace the crispness that can come as the season progresses, it's best to consider the hardiness of some of your choices. Frost-friendly plants that make mums shine are cabbage and kale. (The trendsetters among you may even try to keep them in your winter containers!) The shape, color and texture provided in cabbage and kale gives you a wide range to work with. From frilly, lacy edges to hot pink centers, they truly give your containers and flower beds something extra. Their shape holds all season, but their color really pops when the temperature drops and even look pretty with some snow on them. Cabbages are beautiful in both beds and containers, and kale can provide the height and texture to your design.

When looking for seasonal color this fall, come to Lurvey Garden Center and let our staff help you with your choices. We have the classic, the trendy, the frost-proof and a balance of everything in between. Bring beauty to your yard all year long.

Cabbage and kale make for decorative plants that last deep in the fall. They even look great with a dusting of snow. Courtesy of Lurvey Garden Center
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