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September 4, 2013

Your guide on what to plant this fall season

By Sherri Kolade
C & G Staff Writer

Pansies, mums, flowering kale and daisies are some of the stars this fall.

Once planted, these charming, bright flowers are bound to make a neighbor or two envious, and when it comes to primping your backyard, front yard or garden for the fall, Betti Pool has what it takes to make them go green, and the flowers go bloom. 

As the head gardener of Farmington’s Governor Warner Mansion, 33805 Grand River Ave., Pool dishes on what’s great to plant in the fall, and how she and other volunteers tend to the mansion’s 16 gardens.

“In the fall, we are doing a lot of maintenance, a lot of deheading,” Pool said recently. “We are starting to take out any annuals that are looking shabby and not doing well. This fall, we are replacing pots on (the mansion’s) front porch, and we are going to put yellow chrysanthemums in, and change pots to gear down in the fall.”

Pool said mums, pansies, ornamental cabbages, marguerite daisies and hardy asters, among others, are great plants for the fall, though individual tastes from one green thumb to another may differ.

“You can put any plant you want together,” she said. “There are no specific combinations. Whatever catches your eye — if you think it is pretty, it will be a hit.”

Sandra Goeddeke-Richards, Macomb Michigan State University Extension Master Gardener Program coordinator at Macomb MSU Extension, believes that the fall is an excellent time of year to plant a new lawn.

“If you are renovating, now is the time when you kill the weeds out completely, and get the seed down at least two or three weeks before frost hits the young grass seedlings,” Goeddeke-Richards said.

She said many people start planting late, and it becomes more risky.

“The risk is that the freeze could kill the seedlings, and you would have to start next season,” she said.

She said the cost of lawn care varies from if someone wants to cover a big area, or just cover a patch or two.

She said you don’t need an expert to get your lawn green.

“Grass grows really well,” she said. “If you get it in the right spot, it will grow really well for you.”

She said, if interested, people should go to a garden center and choose fresh grass seeds from the season.

Tom Glaeser, manager at Allemon’s, 17727 Mack Ave. in Detroit, said plants such as hardy mums and flowering kale are among some of the plants available in the fall.

“Those are what people use for color,” he said. “In the winter, pansies are no work. They just continuously bloom.”

He said mums only require water and sunlight once planted.

“Same thing with pansies; they don’t require deadheading,” he said. “It stays in bloom until it gets cold.”

He said pansy seeds will be available in the next week or two at his store; mums are already in the store.

“People usually plant them as soon as we get them,” he said.

Mike Zanoli, co-owner of Rochester Hills-based lawn fertilization and tree care company Scream ‘N Green, said that plants start to grow more vigorously in the fall, and that he plants mums for color.

“Weeping cherries are nice because they flower in the spring nicely,” he added.

Goeddeke-Richards said Labor Day marks the day she starts bringing her houseplants in before winter comes.

“The winter gets really unpredictable,” she said. “I have a lot of house plants.”

She said she washes her houseplants and gets them accustomed to lower-light conditions.

She added that others who do the same could also wash off their pots to clear off debris and look for sunny spots inside the house to place the plants.

“There are never enough sunny spots for a plant lover,” she said.

For more information, visit www.garden.org, www.screamngreen.com, www.allemons.com or http://www.macombgov.org/msuextension/hortAGIndex.htm.