Published Friday, September 25, 2020
By Victoria Torley
Waaaaay up North . . .
. . . they are getting ready for autumn. Fall. Leaves bursting with color. Maple trees in bright red and gold, oaks in a rich brown, alders in brilliant yellow. Metric Man misses it, so I planted a long double row of crotons which are all those colors all year long. Now he complains that it “doesn’t feel right” when he walks through it. Okay, okay, I admit that the cool crisp air of fall is definitely missing in our little grove but I did what I could.
And what else are they getting ready for up North? Winter, that’s what!
Back in 2003, we lived in upstate New York. Not too far upstate, but far enough that one year we had snow on the ground from November to April. Enough was enough for me and we moved to Georgia.
Ahhh, Georgia. In the fall, I planted pansies and snapdragons which flowered all winter long no matter what the weather. Snapdragons are just plain hardy but pansies survived, I think, because they were so close to the warm ground. I used to pick them and fill little vases every week.
Then came the harsh reality. It still snowed in Atlanta! Not only that, but we had ice storms! Ice on the ground and the streets for a full week! Everything shut down. Atlanta had two snow plows and no stockpile of salted sand.
Obviously, we had not moved far enough South! It took me years to convince Metric Man that this was true, but he finally capitulated. Evidently, I can be quite insistent, or, as he puts it, “a real nag.” So be it!
It has taken some getting used to, hence this column.
So you want “fall color” and crotons aren’t enough? Here are some great plants for you.
• Capsicm annuum – a deep purple-leafed hot pepper.
• Coleus – just about every color there is.
• Duranta erecta, lime – and a very bright lime it is.
• Euphorbia cotinifolia – another purple.
• Purple shield – a shining purple and fast grower.
• Helichrysum italicum – silvery foliage.
• Iresine herbstii – another deep purple.
• Hyalis argentea – silvery foliage.
• Lantana – always a favorite.
• Kalanchoe orgyalis – called “copper Kalanchoe.
And these are just the foliage plants! Imagine the results if I added all the flowering plants.
So, as your thoughts drift back over how you miss fall colors, remember you can have them year-round! And there’s another thing to remember, especially if you live, as we did, in the snowy regions of the country. While you were enjoying fall color, you were also preparing the snow shovels and snow blowers, digging out cold weather gear, and writing reminders about making sure the oil tank was filled up. Keep that in mind and enjoy the crotons.
Plant for the Week
The Kalanchoe orgyalis is a lovely plant originally from Madagascar. It is a low grower, about 12 inches tall and 12 wide so it makes a lovely border plant in the sun. It prefers low to moderate water. This picture is of Bustani Plant Farm.
Editor's note: More information on this article or about gardening, Ms. Victoria Torley can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org