The City Magazine Since 1975

Three Picks for Fall

October 2017
Three Picks for Fall
WRITER: 

Add these favorites to your garden, and you’ll be enjoying autumn bouquets for seasons to come 

(Left to right) Perennials ‘Ryan’s Pink’ and blue mist flower lend striking complement to the vibrant hues of the native beautyberry. Plan to divide your perennials about every three years to encourage vigor.

Perk up your garden’s palette this fall by planting a perfectly coordinated trio of tried-and-true perennials. Not only will you be rewarded with a beautifully flowering landscape, but a vibrant bouquet is just a snip away.

Start with a mum—but not the kind currently splashing garden centers with orange, yellow, and red. No, we’re talking about ‘Ryan’s Pink’ (Chrysanthemum x morifolium ‘Ryan’s Pink’), selected and named for the late, great garden designer Ryan Gainey. This old-fashioned variety will produce mounds of pink-to-white daisy-like flowers offset by sunny yellow centers. Florists love the blooms for their long vase life.

Plant chrysanthemums in full sun to partial shade with well-draining soil, keeping in mind that the stems will lean forward, their flowers aiming toward the sun. Given room, one plant will reach two to three feet in height, with a 36-inch spread. (If you prefer a more compact habit, prune back by one-third in July.)

Fill in your bouquet with the billowy blooms of blue mist flower (Conoclinium coelestinum). This native perennial is very adaptable, able to handle moist to dry conditions, as well as sun to partial shade. It will top out around one to two feet tall. Prune it back in early summer to encourage branching for more blooms—that’ll keep you and the monarch butterflies happy.

Now add the purple spires of the native beautyberry (Callicarpa americana). Growing three to six feet in all directions, this shrub thrives in full sun and provides a much-needed food source for migratory birds. When arranging, remove any leaves to call attention to the vivid purple berries.

To add a finishing touch to your bouquet, gather greens such as variegated pittosporum or farfugium from the garden. And there you’ll have it, a display of your own autumn bounty.