As summer draws to a close, you may find yourself looking over at your past-their-prime annuals and think that the growing season is over. In reality, a whole new growing season is beginning! Fall is a great time of year to plant cold-weather vegetables, perennials, and bulbs. The ground is sun-warmed and will remain that way well into autumn, even when the air temperature begins to drop and the snow settles in.
At Chester’s we specialize in flowering perennials of all kinds and have devised a guide for those looking to create a late-summer into late-autumn garden that can be enjoyed for seasons to come.
In Utica, we fall under the USDA Hardiness Zone of 5a, meaning that most native plants can survive the cold up to -10Â° F. This is important to consider when selecting perennials to ensure that they will survive our tough winters and come back brilliantly next spring. For your convenience, we have taken the guesswork out of the equation and offer a selection of plants that are tried and true in our zone.
Some varieties that we recommend are:
- Rudbeckia “Black-eyed Susan”
- Hemerocallis “Day Lillies”
- Echinacea ” Cone Flower”
- Monarda “Bee Balm”
- Nepeta “Catmint”
An excellent ground cover and border plant and very popular among our feline friends, this perennial herb prefers full to part sun and can tolerate a variety of soil conditions. It produces tiny blue/purple flowers in late spring and throughout the summer.
- Creeping Phlox
Another great ground cover plant with a low-profile, producing a carpet of blooms in the spring and soft green foliage year-round. Prefers full sun and well-drained soil.
- Heuchera “Coral Bells”
Any plans for a fall garden should be made at least six weeks before the first frost; in our zone that is usually pegged for the beginning of October. This allows plenty of time for new transplants to take advantage of the warm soil and establish sturdy roots. Some plants that are slated to bloom in the spring or early summer may not look their best at planting time, but take as much care with them as you would a plant in full bloom to ensure the best results when their time comes.
Be sure to thoroughly water new transplants often, once a week or more if it remains hot and dry into September, until temperatures begin to drop and the roots have had a few weeks to grow. All plants need less water with the onset of winter; less intense sunlight, shorter days, cooler temps. Established plants should be mulched once night temperatures hover around freezing. Most plants will do well with a covering of straw or other organic material such as leaves. Be sure to remove the covering in the spring.