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    Plants for fall color!

    Shorter days, cooler nights, bring on the fall colors!  Fall foliage is a result of plants no longer producing chlorophyll (the food for plants and what makes leaves green).  As the chlorophyll begins to break down we start to see yellows and oranges and some plants have further chemical changes which in turns gives us red and purples.  But enough about how it happens, here are some great plants to consider for a brilliant display this fall.

    To really impact your fall garden make sure to include plants that will turn those beautiful bright reds, oranges and purples.  Red maples and Sugar maples are great shade trees that produce brilliant fall color.  The Red maple will give bright red leaves while the Sugar maples give a multicolored show of oranges, yellows and some red.  They both are really spectacular!  One of the most amazing and unique trees for brilliant yellow fall color are the Gingko biloba trees.  Be sure to select a non fruiting variety, the downside of fruiting varieties is the smell of the rotting fruit (eek)!

    Don’t forget to layer your landscape with smaller ornamentals and shrubs to spread the fall color throughout!  Serviceberry trees give good yellow-orange colors, while Japanese maples can give a bright red from the red leafed varieties and vibrant oranges from the green leafed varieties.  Oakleaf hydrangea not only produce showy blossoms but turn beautiful shades of reds and purples in the fall!

    Lets not forget flowers!  There are number of great annuals and perennials that will flower into fall!  Annual mums, coneflowers and pansies will get that pop of color where your summer annuals are starting to fizzle.  Perennials such as Asters, Russian Sage, Goldenrod bloom from late September into October!  Don’t let your garden fade away, but rather go out with a bang of color!

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    Let’s talk spring bulbs.

    This is the time of year we are putting our gardens to bed.  But this is also the time to think about spring bulbs!  They are super easy to plant and a great way to bring much needed color to the garden in early spring.  Most bulbs need what is called vernalization, this is the process of exposing the bulb to cold temperatures to allow the plant to go dormant, this dormancy prepares the plant for a better blooming period.  So if you live in a warmer climate be sure to purchase pre-chilled bulbs.  There are so many varieties to chose from: you can extend the bloom time by selecting early to late blooming bulbs!

    Once you have decided what to plant you’ll have to decide where to plant! Make sure you have selected a full to part sun location, bulbs won’t do well in the shade.  The site must also be well drained, a wet spot will get you rotten bulbs!  Prepare your soil for planting by first tilling the soil and then adding peat or compost to it.  You are now ready to plant.

    For a natural look you’ll want to plant in groups, don’t line them up like soldiers unless you are planting them in a cut flower garden. As a general rule of thumb planting depth should be 3-4 times deeper than the bulb is tall.  Place the bulbs pointy side up or if no pointy side, look for roots and plant the roots down.  Fill the hole back up with your amended soil and then cover with mulch.  Water well in the fall so the roots start growing.

    Now sit back and wait for spring!  Bulbs are often the bright spot at the end of long winter.  They are relatively inexpensive, easy to grow and will easily reward you with years of enjoyment!

    Don’t have time to get your bulbs in the ground give us a call and we’ll do the work for you!

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    Late bloomers!

    Even though the season is winding down, some plants are just winding up!  You can still get a great splash of color with the following fall blooming plants!

    Anemone x hybrida ‘Honorine Jobert’

    From spring to fall you’ll be provided with a nice base of lush green leaves up to 18″ tall.  Then in September and October the real show begins.  These beautiful 1-2″ flowers will brighten up the fading fall landscape.  They are white or pink flowers, even double cultivars are available.  In bloom they are a striking 24-36″ tall.


    Aconitum arendsii, Monkshood

    You don’t normally see a lot of blue in the landscape.  But plant this handsome specimen  and you get a 2-4′ tall blue showstopper at the end of the growing season.  It also is one of the more unique blooms out there, with it’s helmet like sepals.


    Aster ‘purple dome’

    Purple dome is just one of many varieties of Fall Aster.  They come in a range of purple, pink, hot pink and white.  Plants are filled with small daisy like flowers that form a blanket of color!  Plants bloom in September and are from 18″-3′ tall!


    Some perennials just fade into the garden at the end of the growing season and some, like above, create show stopping flowers. But don’t forget there are also those perennials that have great fall color, here are just a few:

    Amsonia hubrechtii, Blue Star

    You might think that after this plant blooms in spring that’s all you’ll get from it.  But Amsonia produces excellent fall color as the temperatures cool down.  The leaves turn bright yellow to orange and quickly brighten up the garden.


    Geranium sanguineum

    Geraniums bloom spring through summer and a few straggler flowers in the late fall.  But beautiful red fall foliage is what you should expect come late September and October!


    And round out your landscape with shrubs that hold there fruit/berries late in the season and through winter:

    Callicarpa spp. Beautyberry

    One of my favorites is Beautyberry.  Now this is a showstopper you don’t often see!  Purlple-Amethyst colored berries!


    Need help in your garden?  We can work together in the coming months to create a landscape with blooms all season long!  Just contact us here: Van Zelst, Inc.







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    Putting the garden to bed.

    We all have a bedtime routine, well it’s also a great time to establish one for your garden.

    We’ve ended this season on a fairly dry note. So it’s important to continue to water new plantings and evergreens well into fall. You don’t need to do it as frequently as summertime, but they do need a good drink before they go completely dormant in the winter. This is also an effective means of minimizing injury to trees and shrubs during the winter. Water sparingly throughout early autumn, and as the leaves begin to fall switch to less frequent, but deeper watering of deciduous trees and evergreens.

    It’s also a great time of year to mulch your planting beds. A layer of mulch insulates the ground therefore allowing it to stay frozen, protecting plants from winter freezes, thaws and winds. A steady temperature will keep the plant in dormancy and prevent it from triggering new growth during a brief warm spell. Tender, new growth too soon will just result in more winter die back. Mulching now will also help conserve whatever water is in the soil.

    Also don’t forget to take an inventory of your garden. Make notes of what worked and didn’t work. What needs to be divided for spring or moved to another location?  You’ll have plenty of time in the winter to select some fun new plants and add to your amazing garden come spring.

    Van Zelst, Inc. Weinberg Residence, Northfield

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    Has Fall finally arrived?

    Is summer really over?  It’s starting to feel like fall with cooler days and nights.   Let’s talk about fun fall annuals.  We mostly think of, and see, a lot of mums and pansies.  But there are a plethora of other plants to fill your landscape with later fall colors!

    As with most annuals we look forward to various colored flowers, but did you know that you can also use leafy greens and ornamental peppers to spice up you fall planters?!

    Ornamental peppers produce colorful little fruits that are round or pointed. They are so attractive in their own right that they can be grown just for show — not eating. The peppers are indeed edible, but usually flavor is lacking compared to peppers grown for the table.

    Kale is the new super-food, but did you know ornamental kale and cabbage look great with mums and pansies?  They are varied in colors and texture.  And the cooler it gets the brighter the colors become!  And like the ornamental peppers these plants are also edible (but really are too pretty to consume!).

    Another great foliage plant to add to your planters is Heuchera.  There are many varied  colors from golden yellow, deep purple to caramel colored leaves!  These plants are actually perennials but can serve as an “annual” in your planters.

    Whether you mix them up or plant en mass, there are lots of options for fall color!
    Contact us now to get your garden blooming for fall!

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    Fall Flowers…

    We expect the colors of the changing leaves, but there are also some great fall blooming plants still adding a punch of color to the landscape.

    Fall Asters

    Fall blooming asters.


    Aster alma potschke


    Solidago (goldenrod)


    A second flush of flowers from weigela rubidor.

    Beauty bush

    The beautiful berries of Beautybush.

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    If it feels like fall, it must be!

    My favorite time of year.  Although our first official fall day won’t be until September 23rd!  With a string of cooler days and nights the plants are telling us fall is coming!  Some of the leaves are just starting to change and the summer annuals are looking pretty sad.  So now is the time to switch it up and add some color to those planters.  You could get another two months from them!

    So fall makes you think of mums, kale and pansies.  These might be the staples of the fall annual garden but there are lots of other materials you can use to brighten up those fall planters.

    Check out these fun planters filled with color and fun textures!

    This one is filled with pretty purple mums, bold annual rudbeckias, millet, weeping ornamental pepper plants and pansies. It certainly brightens up a drab corner.

    This planter is accented with a fun contrast of purple and white. We used annual fountain grass, black pearl peppers, himalayan honeysuckle, ornamental kale, mums, pansies, weeping ornamental pepper and then accented it with a cute white pumpkin.

    Try mixing it up by adding some of these accents to your fall planter!

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