by Beth Monroe, Public Relations and Marketing Director, Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden
While most people think of spring as the best time for planting, avid gardeners know fall can actually be the best.
First of all, it helps to know the difference between an annual and a perennial. Annuals typically only last one season, while perennials come back year after year. Since they last more than one season, perennials are attractive to many gardeners because they don’t have to be replanted, which saves time and money.
Fall is good for planting perennials because the cooler temperatures and increased rainfall help the plant’s roots become well-established. The soil is still warm in the fall and allows roots to grow until the ground freezes. (With mild weather, roots may even continue to grow throughout the winter.) If the same plant is put in the ground in the spring, it gets a slower start because soils are cooler. If planted in the summer, it may become extremely stressed due to heat, drought and an insufficient root system.
For the same reasons, turf grasses are often planted in the fall. Fall is also the time to plant spring-blooming bulbs and “cool crop” vegetables.
And just because mid-September is not the beginning of the spring season, don’t rule out annuals. They can be used to give your garden a “boost” and can be enjoyed until frost hits. In our area that can sometimes be until late October or early November.
If you’re not ready to hang up your gardening gloves just yet, check out the Fall Plant Sale at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden on Friday, September 18 (10 a.m. – 6 p.m.) and Saturday, September 19 (9 a.m. – 3 p.m.) More than 25 vendors will be there, plus the Garden volunteers have some great plants for sale in the Bloemendaal’s Best tent, including a selection of disease-resistant lilacs.