For the perfect late-season bloomer, you can't go wrong with fall mums! The blooms last for weeks, not days, and the sheer number of flowers per plant will convince anyone that this garden favorite really likes to show off. Both florist and garden mums make great container plants. They're just right for popping into a clay pot, lining up in a row in a fall window box, or placing in the center of a mixed container with trailing foliage plants all around. Whether in a pot or in your garden, mums like lots of light. Mums thrive in full sun conditions as long as you give them enough water. Choose a spot that gets at least six hours of sun a day. Prepare mums for winter after the first hard frost. Mulch up to 4 inches with straw or shredded hardwood. Fill in around the entire plant, spreading well between branches. Pinch off dead blooms to clean up the plant, but leave branches intact. Mums have a better chance of surviving if you wait to prune old stems until spring.
If you're looking for low maintenance, drought tolerant, long blooming and cheerful plants for a flower border or a filler, coreopses are a perfect choice. Considered to be one of the best native wildflowers available for the garden, Coreopsis are easy to grow, displaying daisy-like, cut flower-perfect blooms in vibrant shades of yellow, pink, and more, and a long bloom time -- all summer and well into the fall. The growth habit of Coreopsis is quite variable, from very compact to informal and sprawling, although all are well-formed and bushy. Birds (particularly Goldfinches) love to snack on the seeds during fall and winter. Bees and butterflies are drawn to them, too. Their daisy-like flowers range in colors from bright yellow and orange to pink and red. Coreopsis form upright clumps and have a moderate growth rate. Plant them any time from early spring to fall; most varieties will start blooming in early summer and repeat bloom periodically through fall.
The dianthus plant is the cottage flower also called “pinks”, also called Sweet William (Dianthus barbatus); it has a fragrance with cinnamon or clove notes. The plants are small and usually between 6 and 18 inches tall. Dianthus flowers are most often in pink, salmon, red and white hues. The foliage is slender and sparsely spread on thick stems. Dianthus pink is treasured for its grasslike, blue-green foliage and abundant starry flowers, which are often fragrant. They belong to a family of plants which includes carnations and may be found as a hardy annual, biennial or perennial and most often used in borders or potted displays. Plant pinks in full sun, partial shade or anywhere they will receive at least 6 hours of sun. The plants need fertile, well-drained soil that is alkaline. Water them only at the base of the plant to keep the foliage dry and prevent mildew spotting.
Lamb's Ear is a low growing, spreading plant with very fuzzy, pale, silvery gray-green foliage favored for their suede-like texture foliage rather than their flowers. However, some varieties do flower on tall spikes in the late spring or early summer, in shades of pinkish purple or white. Some gardeners find the flower spikes charming and others cut them off to encourage the foliage, as so many of us do with Hosta. Bees are not so fussy and love the slightly fragrant flowers. These are quite adaptable plants and can be grown in USDA hardiness zones 4 - 8. When summers are extremely hot and dry, Lamb's Ears will require more shade. Lamb's ear prefers full sun to partial shade. They'll need more shade in hot climates and during hot, dry summers. The leaves can fry to a crisp if they are left in the hot sun without water for too long. The flowers appear in late spring, into early summer. The silvery foliage makes an especially nice complement to purple and pink flowering plants.
Penstemons make wonderful additions to the garden. The diversity of these plants is truly remarkable, with several hundred species available. From dwarf little alpine plants to prairie penstemons reaching up to 5 feet tall, there’s a height for every part of the garden. And that’s just the plant height—the leaves and blooms also come in many different shapes, colors, and sizes.
The zinnia — a plant native to Mexico — brightens up our garden from midsummer all the way to the first hard frost. Zinnias are one of the easiest flowers to grow, as they grow quickly and bloom heavily. Zinnia flowers create a massive burst of color in your garden. They have bright, solitary, daisy-like flower heads on a single, erect stem, which makes them great for use as a cutting flower or as food for butterflies. There are three main kinds of zinnia flowers: single, semi-double, or double. The distinction between these forms comes from the number of rows of petals and whether or not the center of the flower is visible. In addition to these forms, zinnia flowers come in a number of shapes, including “beehive,” “button,” and “cactus.” From petunia pink to daisy yellow, zinnias come in every eye-catching hue (except true blue) so you can match them with your favorite perennial or annual flowers, foliage plants, and herbs. There’s really a zinnia for every garden! Plant zinnias in an annual or mixed border garden. Smaller zinnias are suitable for edging, window boxes, or other containers.
These are just a few of the selections that are available at the Ridge Road Garden Center. We have the perfect, colorful plants for your gardens! Do stop by and see all that is available!