October 2013

Recycle snippets from fall clean up in late-season, winter containers

A white pumpkin, assorted gourds and Spanish moss with faux leaves and berries in a container on a sheltered porch. (C) Jo Ellen Meyers Sharp

As we perform our fall cleanup chores, save a few items for use in late season and winter containers.

Right now, you can use seed heads of perennials, snippets of ornamental grass, twigs, a pumpkin or a few gourds and maybe a mum or pansy for a pot of fall beauty.

Spray paint the twigs to match the trim on the house. Pumpkins, too, come in other colors besides orange, including white, yellow-green and green. And the gourds, with their gnarly or warted skins are just plain fun.

You can always supplement with artificial fall leaves or stems of faux berries for a little more pizzazz.

Stow some of nature’s fall bounty for use in a winter container, too. Dried hydrangea flowers, ornamental grass flowers or foliage, red or yellow-stem dogwood, birch branches and willow stems are all good choices. For a winter arrangement, fill in as needed with evergreen boughs and other greenery from a garden center or perhaps a friend’s landscape.

Fall-planted lilies shine in the summer garden

We all know about planting tulips and daffodils in fall for spring blooms. But there are lovely summer-blooming bulbs to plant in fall, too.

Asiatic, oriental and orienpet lilies (Lilium) are always worth a little space in the perennial garden.

Asiatics bloom in early summer and come in many colors. These are usually 10 to 24 inches tall and have trumpet-shaped flowers. Oriental and a new group called orienpet lilies are worth having if only because of their fragrance. These also can get pretty tall, up to 5 or 6 feet, depending on the variety. Really tall ones may need to be staked, or plant them amid companion plants that will help support the lilies.

Foxtail lily (Eremurus 'Stenophyllis'). Photo courtesy

Most of these lilies are winter hardy throughout Indiana. Plant lilies where they get morning sun or where they get filtered afternoon sun. Most do well in average soil, but prefer it to be well drained.

A lot of gardeners are unfamiliar with the foxtail lily (Eremurus), which blooms in very late spring to early summer. These have 30-inch stalks topped with pink, white, cream or yellow flowers. Hardy to USDA Zone 5, plant these in full sun and well-drained soil.

Lilies and foxtail lilies also are terrific cut flowers for indoor enjoyment.