September 2009

This past weekend I flew out to Vermont to visit my brother who is going to college there. We were a tad bit too early to see the trees in their full Autumn glory, but we were still treated to quite a show.

One thing that struck me though, is how different September is across the country. In Vermont, the first frost of fall comes in September, and I would guess that they only have 1 or 2 more months of viable gardening time left. In Southern California, by contrast, September is often one of the hottest months of the year, with the Santa Ana winds bringing temperatures in the 80s, 90s, and even 100s in some places.

Take this next statement with a huge grain of salt, because I have never gardened in a place with such a short growing season, but I would imagine that if you haven’t switched up your containers for fall in a climate like Vermont’s, you’ve missed your chance for this year. But if you live farther south, or closer to the ocean, you almost certainly still have time to pop in some of the following great plants for a splash of fall interest.

Photo by Builderscape

Japanese Blood Grass is a beautiful, upright grass whose tips are dipped in a deep red. It is happy in either full sun or part-shade, which is useful this time of year as the shorter days and changing location of the sun may mean that you have full-sun on your balcony in September and several hours less sun in November.

Photo by Patrick Standish

Artemisia ‘Powis Castle’ is a stunning silver-white plant with finely cut, feathery leaves. It is a great contrast to other foliage colors and provides needed brightness and texture. Hardy down to zone 5 and drought tolerant, it is tough enough to handle most winter’s with little special attention.

Photo by Char

Black Eyed Susan ‘City Garden’ is a great choice if you’re feeling nostalgic for these cheery flowers but don’t really have the room for the full-sized version.  City Garden will stay compact and top out at 12 inches tall and less than 18 inches across. They’re also a great choice if you want to lure songbirds onto your balcony by helping them out when food sources start to become scarce.

Photo by Green Acres Nursery and Supply

Dwarf Pampas Grass is the perfect plant for a container gardeners who either need some privacy, want to make a serious statement, or both. The plumes top out at about 5 feet tall and are pretty low maintenance.

If you’d like even more great fall color ideas, check out Christina’s Fall planting combos.

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Twitter Contest Winners!

by Fern on September 29, 2009

in Contests

Two weeks ago I announced a retweet contest so that I could give away two extra copies of books I’ve greatly enjoyed: The Green Gardener’s Guide by Joe Lamp’l, and Sunset’s Western Garden Book. I’m not sure if this was my best thought out contest, as the winners might not have even realized they were entering it?! But hey, what the heck, I love giving things away.

So, without further ado, the winners are…

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Great Place for Southern Californians to Enjoy Fall Colors

September 25, 2009

Kristen left a great comment on this post about the first day of Autumn. She talks about her family’s tradition of visiting Oak Glen in the foothills of the San Bernadino Mountains, just an hour away from most of LA and OC. Happy Autumn! This is such a wonderful season, even in southern California! You […]

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Free to a Good Home

September 23, 2009

I don’t know about you, but I am one of those gardeners who can’t ever stand to throw a perfectly good plant out. Not only that, whenever I have to prune a plant back hard, I save all the branches and root them, to make more plants. What this means is that I almost always […]

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Happy Autumnal Equinox!

September 22, 2009

This post is scheduled to be published at 2:18pm PDT, the exact moment of the autumnal equinox. As far as I can tell, this means that the sun is exactly halfway through the sky on the day when daytime and nighttime are each exactly 12 hours long, after which nighttime will be longer until the […]

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Three Ways to Preserve Basil

September 21, 2009

Basil is probably one of the easiest herbs to grow in a container, and gives you a lot of bang for your buck. In fact, you may have too much bang for your buck (so much basil you can’t use it all at once). As things wind down for the season, preserving what you’ve harvested […]

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Other Than Gardening, What Activities Take Up Your Free Time?

September 20, 2009

As I was planning the next few months of “off” season posts, I began to wonder what kind of activities other balcony gardeners enjoy when they’re not out amongst their container garden? I bet a lot of us enjoy cooking, it seems that it goes hand in hand with gardening. But what else do you […]

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A Moon Garden on Your Balcony

September 17, 2009

Gardens are wonderful. We all–or almost all of us–can agree on that. But what if you’re busy working hard all day long and by the time you get home, the sun is long gone? Can you still get any enjoyment out of some plants on your balcony? My answer is a resounding: YES! Yes, you […]

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9 Super Plants for Shady Containers

September 16, 2009

Gardening in the shade can be pretty challenging, especially if you like bold, colorful plants. But rest assured that “challenging” doesn’t mean “impossible.” Check out these plants for some ideas for your shady container garden. Black Mondo Grass Dichondra ‘Silver Falls’ Japanese Blood Grass Purple Heart ‘Purple Queen’ Oxalis ‘Molten Lava’ Coleus ‘Fishnet Stockings’ Foxglove […]

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Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day – September 2009

September 15, 2009

I actually remembered to take pictures of my garden on the right day. That’s worth celebrating in and of itself. Unfortunately my camera’s battery was dead so I had to use my iPhone to take the pictures. I was trying to show how pretty the scented geranium flowers looked against the artimesia but the photo […]

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