I know. . . it was 88 degrees yesterday. While the warm weather has probably made it easy to procrastinate on prepping your fall beds, don’t let the weather fool you. It’s still the time to add compost to landscape beds and start planting your cool season color, before we hit a hard cold snap.
The nights have cooled down enough that traditional cool season color, such as violas and pansies, will be fine despite the current daytime warmth. Looking for what’s “new”? Check out ‘ColorMax’ violas, a favorite of Jenny Wegley’s from last year’s Dallas Arboretum Plant Trials. The flowers on these violas are much larger than you’d expect and plants are more heat tolerant. That means you can plant them a bit earlier in fall and they’ll hang on a bit longer in spring. Violas typically put on more flowers at one time than pansies, so you get a bigger burst of color.
For something a bit different, give Cherianthus a try. This prolific cool-season bloomer puts on masses of either bright yellow or bright orange blooms, a perfect companion to purple or blue pansies. Nemesia and Diascia can also be planted now for sporadic color through winter, followed by a burst of spring blooms. Don’t forget the Iceland poppies! All are excellent additions to patio planters.
Have a slightly shadier spot? Both primrose and English daisy (Bellis sp.) can take a bit of shade. Mind you, they’ll still need good direct morning sun in order to bloom adequately.
Foliage color in the fall is a must: The key to a balanced garden is complementing your blooming color with foliage favorites such as ‘Red Bor’ Kale, Dinosaur kale or red mustard. All ornamental cabbage and kale will look it’s best if you plant it now, so it has a chance to put down roots and fill in to it’s mature size.