Fall Gardening Offers Immediate and Future Benefits
Continued from Page 1 your plant, take care to determine its size at maturity
As you formulate your fall planting plans, it is perfectly and whether or not it needs sun or shade. More than
“legal” to get some “inside” perspective. Several years once I have bought a shrub such as holly or yew and
ago a local landscape designer impressed on me the planted it in a place where it grew too large for the
importance of considering the view from inside your space or was damaged by too much exposure to sun.
home when planning your outdoor landscape. We
have tried to follow that practice ourselves, so now, as
In addition to planting trees and shrubs in the fall,
we look out from our kitchen, from a favorite chair,
consider developing a raised bed for a vegetable garden.
or while eating, the view is attractive. We have even
Benefits include the ability to develop an ideal soil
positioned several bird feeders in the yard that we can
mixture in the bed and ease of maintenance. Many of
see and enjoy while at our breakfast table.
us have heavy clay soils that are not very well suited for
vegetable gardens. I have seen some very practical and
One of the loveliest plants we can see from our attractive raised beds that used concrete blocks for sides
breakfast room is Hellebore, whose common name is with concrete patio tiles placed on top. If the bed is
Lenten Rose. This evergreen perennial plant begins about four feet wide and a comfortable height, you can
forming blooms about the end of January, and it is not easily sit on the edge to tend the plants.
adversely affected by freezes. After the plant freezes
and thaws, it is just as hearty as before, continuing to
Master Gardeners in Norman, Oklahoma City and Tulsa
grow and produce blooms that look like small bells
have demonstration gardens featuring different styles
suspended from the limbs. The blooms are attractive
of raised beds. A visit to one of those gardens at their
floating in a bowl for a centerpiece. By June the blooms
county OSU extension center would provide ideas and
have changed from pink to cream color and are ready
encouragement. Call ahead to see when they are open.
to be removed by the first of July. Horticulturists have
Finally, here is a suggestion for making wise use of
developed many other choices of bloom color.
some of your existing assets during the winter that
I cut our Hellebores back to the ground about January 1
might otherwise sit idle until spring. Take some of your
and they start putting up new shoots within a few days.
large decorative pots, the ones that are normally filled
The Helebore was selected as an Oklahoma Proven
with annuals or tender perennials from April through
perennial in 2008. Go to oklahomaproven.okstate.
early November, and fill them with colorful branches
edu and click on 2008 to see a photo and additional
from your yard. For example, if you have Nandinas,
information. Be sure to plant it in shade and ensure it
strategically remove about a dozen limbs after the leaves
has moist but well-drained soil amended with compost,
have turned red/orange. Punch holes in the upper
peat moss, or some other humus-rich ingredient.
quarter of a one-gallon milk container so that the limbs
can be inserted through the hole giving the appearance
Although Hellebore can be grown from seedlings that of a plant. Fill the container with water and place it in
will sprout around a mature plant, ensure you get the the decorative pot. The limbs will stay fresh looking for
bloom color you want by purchasing your first plant about six weeks. After that you can remove them and
from a garden center. And be patient; this unusual plant either install fresh limbs or leave the pot empty until
takes a while to get well established. warmer weather arrives.
For lasting benefit, fall is a good time to plant trees Some of these suggestions may encourage you to invest
and container-grown shrubs. The plants won’t suffer the a little time and money in a project that will provide
stress of hot weather and can develop their root system both immediate and long-term returns. If you do, I
during the fall and winter months. Before you purchase hope that you are pleased with the dividends.
OBU Legacy NewsLetter August 2009 OklAhOmA BAPTIsT UNIvErsITy 5
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