Garden Design

Spring Ahead by Planting in the Fall


Tips from Gardening With Confidence™ to extend your garden into the fall.

It seems everyone is a gardener in the spring, many of us continue into the summer, but only a few add flowers for the fall. Yet the fall is the perfect time to be in the garden.

With the dog days of summer behind us, September and October open with cooler air and less humidity creating a fresh scent and a sense of excitement. The source of this excitement may be for no reason other than it being bearable enough to be outside once again.

Indeed, September, and throughout the fall, is an ideal time to plan and plant new garden beds to ready oneself for the next year. The fall is also an ideal time to enjoy what the months have to offer.

The fall is also more than just flowers. There is color from foliage; there is scent, texture, and fruit and berries. With our area’s late frost date, we often find our gardens providing interest and intrigue well into November.

Summer color can be extended into the fall with asters, anemones, eupatoriums, helianthus, salvias, and sedums. There’s also beautyberry, fothergilla, and golden rod.

In fall, gingers are releasing scent to waft the thinner air, with flirty flowers causing reason to stare. Roses are regaling, hardy begonia beguiling, amsonia amazing. The ripened figs become a destination for one of nature’s most delicious delicacies.

Reds dominate. Yellows generate. Purples empower. Grasses sway, with flags as flowers. Crepe myrtle’s bark shed creates unique texture and mottling. The maple’s mission is fulfilled as the last red leaf falls to the ground and yellow gingko leaves make mass merriment.

The seed heads of black-eyed Susans add texture and interest to the garden long after the birds finished them off.

The butterflies and hummingbirds are also busy in the fall garden as they ready themselves for a long journey south. The flowers of perennial chrysanthemums such as ‘Sheffield Pink’ make the most perfect landing pad for a butterfly.

Hummingbirds pause mid-air to sip nectar from a canna. Monarchs are grateful to find nectar still rich. Finches steady themselves as they feed on seeds.  The box turtle moseys around the tomatoes eating what the birds or deer knocked to the ground.

Autumn was made for sitting on the patio to watch in wonder. Fall gardening does not need to be all about what needs to be done for the future. It can also be about what is available now.

In the wise words of garden writer Elizabeth Lawrence, “Even if something is left undone, everyone must take time to sit still and watch the leaves turn.”

Enjoy your garden this fall and all the falls to come. As you plan and plant, include fall peaking selections in your choices.

Featured image – Longleaf Sunflower/JC Raulston Arboretum

Helen Yoest is a garden writer and coach through her company Gardening with Confidence™. She also hosts a weekly garden program, Gardening with Confidence™, on You can catch up with Helen via her blog at, Facebook or via Twitter @HelenYoest.

Copy link