Original design courtesy of Country Living
Grow your own Autumn
decor and keep your landscape alive and colorful through winter.
To start, sketch a garden plan for the garden size you'd like. For larger gardens, just multiply the plan and the plantings.
For a Perennial Autumn Colors Garden Design plan, visit this page.
You can grow many or all of these in pots. Add stakes
or a trellis in the pots for the "punkins".
Pick and dry your ornamental garden foliage/plume harvest using a dehydrator, or hang them upside-down somewhere, tied in bundles. Display the gourds naturally in bowls or wired onto wreaths. Leave them as they are and discard when they are no longer pretty.
I use bamboo stakes wherever I can to train and control vines. Bamboo naturally adds to the decor of your garden, and it's sustainable. There are also pre-made teepees and trellises available. Obelisks and small arches can also be used to train and grow your vines, and they are very decorative.
Numbered Key To This Garden's Plantings as shown in the diagram above
I suggest a few alternatives below, that I would use in my garden's design.Many of the woody shrubs and grasses turn different shades of fall color at different times and many are evergreen - cut a little at a time over the early and mid-fall season for a nice assortment of dried arrangement and interior decor color. Decorate with evergreen or bare branches outside your home - arrangements last longer outdoors than in the dry air indoors. I've had spruce and cedar branches last in wreaths and lit up in pots last all the way til spring. Meantime.... don't discard any fallen branches, and don't discard your Christmas tree - place or pile these nicely in areas in or around your garden, and give the birds and wildlife winter shelter and a place to hang out.
Before winter, or when interesting branches fall because of bad weather, dry them, spray them white, silver or gold, wrap in a homegrown berry garland if you like, add solar fairy light strings to the outdoor arrangement, and you have an awesome decorative piece in your landscape and in front of unnoticed areas, porches, patios and doorways.
1. Japanese silver grass (Miscanthus sinensis 'Adagio') 1 plant; 2 to 4 feet tall and as wide; fluffy silvery flower plumes rise 2 feet above a clump of fine grasslike foliage; coppery fall color.
My alternative - 1 Japanese Blood Grass - perennial Beautiful red, yellow and orange blades reminiscent of a sunset. Looks beautiful spring til freeze. Very pretty plumes in shades of purple for you to dry.
Plant in pots, as this grass will
definitely spread by rhizomes. Many ornamental grasses can be invasive, if
not contained. Mine looks beautiful in Asian-style pots. They would look
great in bright orange, yellow or red pots, as well.
2. European cranberry bush (Viburnum opulus 'Compactum') 1 plant; 4 to 6 feet tall and wide; clusters of red berries in fall; white flowers in spring.
My alternative would be
3. Dwarf hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla 'Forever Pink') 1 plant; 2 to 3 feet tall and as wide; 4-inch heads of pink flowers fade and dry beautifully; rounded shrub.
Note: You can easily preserve the hydrangeas by cutting long stems, bringing them indoors, and placing them in a vase of water to enjoy. Let the water evaporate, and the stems, leaves and flowers will dry nicely on their own. Like instant dried flower bouquets. They retain their colors once dry.
My alternative would be:
The sweet fragrance in spring is good enough reason to plant these in your gardens. Use some branches in a vase indoors - The reds are very beautiful mixed with other branches from woody plants. Keep suckering in check by cutting off any unwanted root shoots that pop up, or transplant the suckers in other places in your landscape.
4. Chinese lantern (Physalis alkekengi) 5 plants spaced 1 1⁄2 feet apart; 1 to 2 feet tall; fruits are encased in bright orange, papery "lanterns" that dry well; can become invasive if not grown in pots. My mom had these and Chinese Silver Dollar plants in her front window bays, and every fall, she'd pick branches to dry for decorations.
5. Fountain grass (Pennisetum
alopecuroides 'Hameln') 2 plants planted singly; 18 to 24 inches tall
and wide; tan or coppery foxtail-like spikes of flowers above neat clumps
of slender foliage.
Mini Pumpkins and gourds - You can grow these ornamentals for drying and decor. Some varieties of gourds are also tasty.
6. Pumpkin 'Baby Boo' 3 plants spaced equally around a 2-foot-wide tepee base; vines will cover the structure; 3-inch white mini-pumpkins.
7. Pumpkin 'Jack Be Little' 3 plants spaced equally around 2-foot-wide tepee base; vines will cover the structure; 3-inch bright yellow mini-pumpkins.
8. Gourd-Small Fancy Gourds Mix 3 plants spaced equally around 2-foot-wide tepee base; mixture of green, orange, yellow and striped mini-gourds in assorted shapes and sizes.
9. Ornamental pepper (Capsicum annuum 'Fiesta') 5 plants spaced 12 inches apart; 12 to 15 inches tall and as wide; edible 2-inch-long fruits.
Pretty ornamental plants to add in, and around this garden, if you wish
(use pots for taller plants).
Cosmos and Naturtiums dry beautifully.
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sources and resources
Design Plan Illustration,
photos and design ©2020 marysbloomers.com™