Fall is an important time of year to ensure the Automatic Garden will continue in the spring. The following are some steps to take to keep the garden going.
Take cuttings of tender plants before the temperatures dip. These Coleus are from plants purchased several years ago. They need to go inside for winter and replanted in the spring. Once they start growing again, even more cuttings can be taken to fill the bed.
This Red Hibiscus is treated the same as coleus. Both plants need to be in a sunny window for winter.
Allow plants to reseed on their own. These Black Eyed Susans are from a plant started in the garden over 15 years ago. It will show up in different parts of the yard with help from birds and wind.
Wishbone or Torenia has been a wonderful reseeder. Its tiny seeds may come up in various locations and cracks, but easily transplants to desired locations.
It is always a good idea to collect some seeds to ensure the garden continues. Freezes, pests and animals can take their toll on seedlings.
Start plants for spring in pots, especially those that need some extra care. On the Gulf Coast spring begins as early as February.
Let seedlings start in beds. One of the perks of Automatic Gardening is never needing to dig up beds and turn soil. Plants are germinating and growing at all times. It is important to be able to tell seedling from weeds!
Many perennials begin to put out their new foliage as soon as the last flower turns to seed. The dead stems can be removed.
On the Gulf Coast, most flower seeds are planted during the fall. It is a great time to make plans for next spring.
Swamp Sunflower (Helianthus angustifolius). This bright bloomer started right at the beginning of fall to the delight of the bees. As its name implies, it likes a moist area. It grows up to 6 feet tall and is a prolific reseeder.
This Pam’s Pink Turks Cap desperately needed a trimming, but thankfully it was too hot to do the job and now it is loaded with flowers and buds.
White Rain Lilies (Zephyranthes candida) pop up every year around this time and each year there are more of them. They are in the amaryllis family and can be separated and moved to new beds or shared with gardening friends. Wild ones grow around this area and they have a scent.
This Blue Salvia, the name has been lost, is always a reliable bloomer just when the butterflies and hummingbirds stop by on their journeys south.
This Red Salvia is just super, blooming in the spring and fall. It takes a break during summer.
Coleus Flowers are not very exciting, but the bees sure do like them. All of the Coleus were started by cuttings. It is just about time to start some for the winter. They do well in a sunny window and can be returned to the outdoors when the weather warms up.
Torenias (Torenia fournieri) has many names. Wishbone because of its stamens form a wishbone shape. It is also called Clown Flower, Summer pansy (we grow pansies in the winter here) and Bluewing. What ever you call it, it is a great little plant that takes partial shade and reseeds in the Automatic Garden.