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All Things Fall

We are so excited to share some of the best that this season has to offer: hardy chrysanthemums and pansies, awe-inspiring monarch migrations, and our best tips for nurturing fall crops.


Let's dive into the beauty and bounty of this season.



Chrysanthemums, often lovingly referred to as "mums," are a true hallmark of autumn. These resilient perennials burst into a profusion of colors just as other garden favorites begin to fade. Many big box stores sell mums that are not cold-hardy... not to worry, all of our mums are tough, cold-hardy, and capable of surviving the harshest winters in our area. Here's why we adore them:

  1. Vibrant Variety: Chrysanthemums come in an array of colors, including warm oranges, rich purples, and soothing pinks. They provide a much-needed burst of color in a changing landscape.

  2. Longevity: These hardy perennials can thrive in cooler temperatures and even withstand light frost. With proper care, they'll grace your garden year after year.

  3. Butterfly Magnet: Chrysanthemums are known to attract butterflies, making them not only a feast for the eyes but also for these beautiful insects.

How to Care for Hardy Chrysanthemums:

To ensure your chrysanthemums thrive through this fall season and into the next:

  1. Plant in Well-Drained Soil: Mums prefer well-draining soil and a sunny location.

  2. Pruning: Pinch back new growth around the Fourth of July to encourage bushy, compact growth. This will result in more blooms.

  3. Water Wisely: Keep the soil consistently moist, especially during dry spells, but avoid overwatering.

  4. Mulch: Apply a layer of mulch to insulate the roots and conserve moisture.

 

Pansies: Winter's Delight

Pansies, with their charming "faces," are a delightful addition to any garden. Fresh blooms can be used in salads or as a beautiful accent to cakes, desserts, and even cocktails or mocktails. A handful of dried blooms make a pretty addition to potpourri. When properly cared for, they can survive the chill of winter and emerge in spring with renewed vigor. Here's how:

  1. Plant in Advance: Plant pansies in late summer or early fall to give their roots time to establish before winter.

  2. Deadhead Regularly: Remove spent blooms to encourage continuous flowering.

  3. Fertilize Sparingly: Avoid over-fertilizing, as it can lead to leggy growth. A slow-release balanced fertilizer in early spring is usually sufficient. We have seen excellent results with the use of Bone and Blood Meal.

  4. Protect from Harsh Cold: Cover your pansies with mulch or row covers during extreme cold snaps. If your pansies are grown in a pot, move them indoors during the coldest of days. Remember to return them to the sunny outdoors as soon as it is sufficiently warm. We've seen pansies bloom all winter by doing this!

  5. Water Correctly: Keep the soil consistently moist but not waterlogged.

 

Fall Crops: A Harvest for the Season

Don't forget about the edible bounty of autumn. Fall is the perfect time to grow a variety of crops like lettuce, spinach, and cabbage. Here's how to get started:

  1. Choose Cold-Hardy Varieties: Opt for crops that thrive in cooler temperatures and can withstand light frosts.

  2. Prep Your Soil: Ensure your soil is well-amended and weed-free before planting.

  3. Water Regularly: Keep the soil consistently moist, especially during dry spells.

  4. Mulch: Apply a layer of mulch to conserve moisture and regulate soil temperature.

  5. Harvest Promptly: As your fall crops mature, be sure to harvest them promptly for the freshest and most flavorful produce.

Extra Tip: Use hay bales to create a barrier around your fall crops. When the nights are truly cold, cover them with a pane of glass or thick plastic. Remember to remove that cover when it warms up again! It's likely that you will be able to harvest your crops all winter long by practicing this method.



 

Monarch Migrations: A Majestic Sight

During this time of year, keep an eye out for the awe-inspiring monarch butterfly migration. These resilient insects embark on an incredible journey from Canada to Mexico, passing through our region. Planting milkweed and other nectar-rich flowers can help support these beautiful creatures on their journey. Click the link below for an excellent resource about the monarch migration. It includes a great map that really helps us appreciate the magnitude of their journey.


 

Autumn is truly a time of beauty and abundance. By cultivating hardy chrysanthemums, caring for winter-loving pansies, supporting monarch migrations, and growing fall crops, you can embrace the season's rich tapestry in your garden. Visit our garden center today to discover the perfect plants and resources to help your own autumn garden thrive.




P.S. We also have a beautiful assortment of pumpkins that we grow locally on our family farm. Many of these varieties are great for baking and turning into pies or other sweet treats.


For more information, give us a call at (580) 338-5020 or email us at helmsnursery@gmail.com

We are open at 124 North Quinn Street from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Saturday.


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Happy Gardening!




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