Dear Autumn


Contributing Writer
Joanne Tanner

Dear Autumn,
“Welcome. I know we don’t always see eye to eye since you signify the end of summer. But I do marvel in the beauty of your color, the smell of your harvest – those wonderful apple and pumpkin pies! Your warm, slightly cooler sunny days are welcome. Do you think you can at least stay for the whole three months of your Calendar season? For me please? I would be most grateful. Don’t let old man winter get away with creeping in on your time like he did last year. GEEZ that was bad! I mean really bad!”
These cooler days get my garden groove revved up. It’s time to plant trees, perennials and bulbs with the spring garden in mind. This summer, I began to plan and shop in prep of creating a new garden bed. And isn’t it just like us gardeners to buy new plants before we have their new home created? Autumn weather finally leaves me feeling comfortable in physically putting my garden ideas into motion. A Hosta named ‘Hot Green Chilies’ came home with me. A medium sized, blue green color with a wide lime streak running up through the middle and each of its leaves have a silver shimmer. This one’s a rare Hosta for sure and one of Ran Lydell’s unregistered sport of Hosta ‘Guacamole’.
I have Clematis ‘Sweet Autumn’ blooming right now with hundreds of tiny white star shaped flowers I highly recommend. For spring flowering, Clematis that caught my attention is “Lemon Bells”-c. chissanensis. This clematis was introduced back in ’88 by British Columbia. Flowers are 2 inches, pastel yellow, pendulous or bell shaped with purple stems. She blooms in May and June on previous seasons’ wood.
Next, get those bulbs in the ground while Autumn is still good to us. If you are troubled by deer or rodents, try planting ‘Fritillaria’ bulbs. They are colorful with a potent fragrance as well. Mix Daffodils with your Tulips as a deterrent too. Pay attention to timing of bloom and create a theme. I am partial to orange this year. For something unusual plant Tulipa Praestans ‘Unicum’- a red orange flower with white and green variegated foliage. ‘Unicom’ is a species tulip that will perennialize. Mix these with white Daffodils for a nice display. Tulipa Praestans ‘Fusilier’, is a showstopper! ‘Fusilier’ is another red orange tulip with multiple flowers on one stem that may be a reliable come back year after year.
“Autumn, I promise I will enjoy your season, but please stay warm a little longer while I continue to garden.”

To read more of Joanne Tanners “Down to Earth” reflections on nature and more good advice for greener, tastier and more fragrant gardens by our Master Gardener, please visit our website at and click on Joanne’s own page. The Jamestown Gazette is proud to present our county’s most creative and original writers for your enjoyment and enlightenment.