The lingering sunshine and balmy temperature into late November are perfect for enjoying a resurgence of flowers and plants.
Fall, or “second summer” in the Pacific Northwest, is the perfect time for planting. Plants have time to get their roots established before the heat of the next summer. Plus the lingering sunshine and balmy temperature into late November are perfect for enjoying a resurgence of flowers and plants in your yard.
Whether you want an ornamental garden showpiece in the front yard or a peaceful patio respite, there are plenty of fall flowers, plants and shrubs, even espaliered fruit trees, that provide vibrant color as well as interesting smells, textures and tastes.
Here’s your guide to designing a fall garden for all of your senses:
Lay the groundwork for a five-senses garden
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Now is the time to start laying the groundwork for a fall five-senses garden. While shrubs and flowers can be planted after your summer garden fades, vegetables are a different story. Starters for kale, colorful peppers and fragrant herbs all need to go in the ground at the beginning of August so they’ll take root while the ground is still plenty warm at night.
The key to planning for any garden is to start with strong basic structure of evergreen trees and shrubs that will last year-round. Juniper, huckleberry and Oregon grape all produce interesting berries to add texture to your garden and also attract birds. Brandywine blooms with white flowers in spring that become clusters of vibrant pink and blue berries in fall.
Low-maintenance, high-sensory appeal
Ground cover that begs to be touched, smelled and even eaten can be easy to maintain and keep blooming well into the fall. Mint, lemon balm, creeping thyme and rosemary are all excellent choices for fragrant, textured ground cover that will help keep weeds from sprouting.
The caveat is that, like most ground cover, these will all spread quickly and aggressively. There’s no need to worry with thick-rooted perennials, but more fragile herbs and annuals are better off in above-ground pots or planters that can be embedded in the ground.
A cornucopia of tastes and smells
A raised vegetable garden filled with vines of pumpkin and squash, fresh lettuce, radishes and carrots can provide fall delights for all of your senses – as well as your dinner table. But the varied textures and fragrances of vegetables and herbs can enhance any garden.
Try adding soothing lavender and mint to pots on your patio or deck – ideally, near a favorite comfortable chair where you like to read or sip a glass of wine in the evening.
Mustard greens, chard, red and green peppers, sage and rosemary will also spice up your planters, along with colorful fall favorites such as mums and cyclamen.
Attracting songbirds to your garden
Satisfying your sense of hearing in your garden may be as simple as enjoying the peaceful silence. If you long for nature’s symphony, try installing a stone birdbath and fill bird feeders with sunflower seeds.
Fall birds are attracted by shrubs and trees with berries, including elderberry, crabapple, holly and viburnum. If you want to provide a home for songbirds, plant hawthorn or another thorny tree. They also seek shelter in piles of brush, leaves and branches, where it’s easy to find worms, spiders and other insects to feast on.
Butterflies can be seen in western Washington well into November, so don’t neglect to include colorful, sweet-smelling flowers in your fall landscape design. Here are some favorite resting spots for butterflies that bloom throughout fall:
- Container plants: fuchsia, dianthus, marigolds, lavender.
- Along a walkway or patio border: pansies or impatiens in vibrant colors (pink, red, yellow, orange, purple).
- In your vegetable garden: mint, sage, parsley, coriander, dill.
- Other fall bloomers: Pink and purple asters, salvia, lantana, Dark Knight bluebeard.
Veggies with eye appeal
These colorful vegetables will please your taste buds and eyes alike during the summer and fall:
- Scarlet runner beans: climbing vines of green leaves and flaming red pods.
- Lemon squash: small, bright yellow, and delicious on the grill!
- Swiss chard: thick, veiny leaves with accents of red, orange, yellow and purple.
- Hyacinth beans: lavender flowers that bloom into deep purple pods that will brighten up your garden and your frying pan.
- “Explosive Embers”: Purple-tinted green foliage and white flowers that explode into purple, red and orange hot peppers.
- Purple basil: deep purple spiky leaves that are a sumptuous addition to pasta, eggs and salad.
Uyeta Landscape & Maintenance has been family owned since 1967. Our caring and knowledgeable team has over 50 years’ experience combining art and science into landscape environments that leave clients and communities with a sense of pride and place.