Now that the heat and humidity has eased, working in the garden is even more pleasurable. Previous blog entries have discussed starting fall vegetables and renovating lawns, but what about adding some color to your landscape?
A perennial is defined as a plant that has a life cycle (from seed to flowering and seed production) lasting more than two years. Annuals complete their life cycle in one growing season. Biennials require two seasons to complete a life cycle, with flowering occurring in the second season. To a new gardener, the distinction between types of plants may be confusing. The following link contains additional information. http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/depts/hort/consumer/factsheets/annuals/text/types.html
Fall is a great time to plant and divide spring and summer flowering perennials. The weather is lovely for the gardener, and the new plants have plenty of time to establish their root systems before the weather turns cold. Dividing existing perennials every few years eases crowding, rejuvenates the plants, and may lead to improved flowering. For detailed instructions on dividing perennials : http://guilford.ces.ncsu.edu/2012/08/fall-is-for-planting-and-dividing-perennials/
Anyone who has moved to the Triangle from “up North” is probably thrilled to find that there are annual plants that brighten the late fall, winter, and early spring landscape. These are often referred to as “hardy annuals” Pansies, ornamental cabbage and kale, and snapdragons are some of the most popular, and these can also be planted in October. Edible leafy greens such as lettuce and Swiss chard can be planted with ornamentals and harvested when you want to enjoy a salad.
Planting of spring-flowering bulbs should wait until late October or early November, when soil temperature is cooler
Growing Annual and Perennial Flowers in Durham County: http://durham.ces.ncsu.edu/files/library/32/UNH%208.PDF