Autumn Gardening

September 10, 2011 (CHICAGO)

Flats of summer annuals are being replaced with potted mums and cooler season plants. Benjamin Carroll with the Chicago Botanic Garden was in our ABC7 studio with tips for autumn gardening.

Benjamin's Tips:
Some plants prefer cooler temperatures.

Remove tired summer annuals and replace with plants like:
- Pansies
- Asters
- Ornamental cabbages
- Large leaf sedums
- Mums

Choosing the right mum is important for an extended bloom time.
Look for plants that:
- Have a lot of buds
- Are full and green
- Have moist soil
- Do not have broken branches

Autumn is also the time to plant bulbs that will flower next spring.
When buying bulbs they should be:
- Firm
- Heavy for their size
- Free of cuts and bruises
- Without mold

Plant your bulbs soon after you have purchased them.
Plant most bulbs 2 to 3 times the height of the bulb.

Pansies, Asters, Ornamental cabbages and large leaf sedums are all great plants for autumn interest, but Chrysanthemums or 'Mums' are quintessential plants for this season. They bloom for an extended period and the colors of their blooms are so autumnal.

Shades of maroon, yellows and burnt oranges seem to signify the end of summer.

Benjamin shares some helpful tips to ensure you get the longest display from your mums including:
- Choosing the right plant
- Displaying your mum in a decorative container
- Proper watering

Autumn is also the time to plant bulbs. The Chicago Botanic Garden will be having its yearly Bulb Festival October 1-2 where you can purchase a wide selection of hardy bulbs for your garden and some tender bulbs that you can grow in your home.

Bulbs are in stores now! Tips on what to look for when buying bulbs and how to plant them:

-As a general rule, Benjamin suggests to shop for bulbs the same way you shop for onions (they are bulbs too). Look for firm bulbs that are heavy for their size, free of cuts or bruises and are free of mold.

-Plant them as soon as you can or store in a cool, dark, and dry place like a closet.

-Plant them deep, 2 to 3 times the height of the bulb itself. And be sure they get in the ground before the ground freezes.

Autumn is a transitional season in the garden and many gardeners relish the last chance to make some changes to keep their gardens looking good for as long as possible.

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