Fall Foliage - Nature's Bounty - Halloween Decor = Flora Fauna & FUN
Fall is a great time to show off in the neighborhood, with all the beautiful colors of the falling leaves, the colorful pumpkins and gourds lying amidst the seasonal plantings of Mums, Ornamental Peppers and late blooming black-eyed susans. Then toss in all the laughter, fun, and excitement of the Halloween season and you have a splendid and festive display.
To the right is the arc of a landscaped bed with brilliant evergreen foliage providing a eye-catching background color, highlighted by the taller ornamental grass showing its darker colored spikes with coleus in full bloom and ornamental cabbages to the front along the perimeter of the bed.
A lighthouse is accented with ornamental peppers providing a view from the front that draws ones eyes into the bed with all the plants flowing in a wave-like flow of colors, hues and plant textures. The flamingo struts amidst the display; her white feathery color adding a really nice touch to the color spectrum of this bed….
Perhaps a classic country Halloween vignette on the front porch created with hay bales, mums, pumpkins with corn stalks, a scarecrow and some gourds thrown into the mix. You can create a “halloween” greeting area of color and excitement for that “spooky night” of visitors and denizens. Those fake spider webs that you can spray add a really nice touch to the whole theme.
Speaking about Halloween, let’s dwell on pumpkins and gourds a bit. Talk about a strange and contorted family tree; check this out. Pumpkins are gourds, and also called squash, specifically winter squash, not to be confused with summer squash. But wait, there are gourds that are just gourds, not pumpkins, and they are cousins. And I mentioned squash, where do they fit in, another cousin? The genealogy is thoroughly confusing.
After much research here is a simple breakdown. Botanically, the Cucumber family is a parent to the Gourd genus. From this genus springs most of the pumpkins, gourds, and squash we know. The all-encompassing terms pumpkin, gourd, and squash are often used interchangeably.
Did you know the word pumpkin originated from the Greek word for melon? And the carvings used in Celtic celebrations were originally made from turnips! The American pumpkin proved to be an excellent alternative for carving and display.
When fall arrives, it’s hard not to regret the passing of all the summer blooms we love so much: pompon dahlias, Shasta daisies, African daisies, little zinnias, asters, coreopsis, and calendulas.
But take heart, for the fall garden offers all these flower shapes from just one plant, the chrysanthemum. Hundreds of hardy cultivars provide an array of colors and bloom shapes, making mums the divas of the autumn garden. The blooms last for weeks, not days, and the sheer number of flowers per plant will convince anyone that this flower really likes to show off. Add the mum’s impressionistic abilities to its longevity, and you have a plant that pulls its weight in the garden.
Because of their tight, mounded habit and stunning bloom cover, garden mums are perfect for mass plantings. To get the maximum effect from far away, stick to only one or two colors. Another possibility is to arrange a gradual transition of related colors. Look around your yard to see what colors would best complement the existing landscape.
If you decorate for fall with pumpkins and gourds, choose orange, bronze, yellow, and creamy white mums. If you have a lot of evergreen plants that provide a backdrop of varying shades of green foliage, try bright pinks, lavenders, pure whites, or reds. With such bold colors, a large grouping of mums can excite even the most drab of fall landscapes.
Ornamental pepper care is easy, and you can expect fruit from mid spring until fall. Bushy, glossy green foliage and colorful fruit that stand in upright clusters at the end of the stems combine to create an outstanding ornamental plant. The fruit comes in shades of red, purple, yellow, orange, black or white, and the peppers change colors as they ripen, so you may see several different colors on the same plant. Use them as bedding plants in the garden or plant them in pots so you can enjoy them on sunny decks and patios.
Ornamental pepper plants need a location with full sun. The plants become leggy and produce few peppers if they receive fewer than eight hours of sunlight each day. Their soil should be rich and drain well. Work in a layer of compost before planting ornamental peppers if the soil fails to meet either of those requirements. If compost doesn’t improve poorly drained soil, plant ornamental peppers in a raised bed or in containers. Poorly drained soil can lead to leaf diseases and root rot.
The plants grow well indoors and outdoors in containers at least 6 inches in diameter. Self-watering containers are best for outdoor ornamental peppers because their pots dry out quickly in full sun on hot days. Set indoor ornamental pepper plants’ pots in a very bright, south-facing window. Water the plants by drenching their soil. Allow the excess water to drain from the pots, and then empty the saucer under each pot so that the plant roots won’t sit in water. Fertilize the plants twice monthly with a liquid houseplant fertilizer until the peppers appear. Ornamental pepper plants don’t need additional fertilizer after they fruit.
Here’s hoping that these images of some of the seasonal color displays we have done gives you some ideas, perhaps some incentive and last but not least think of the pleasant memories to be had creating such a marvel with the family and children pitching in.
almost PERFECT Landscaping offers seasonal color plantings for both residential and commercial properties within the Bergen County, New Jersey area. If you need some help, hit us up on the contact page or phone (201) 389-6979.
Aye and last but not least – it’s me again with another bit of me folklore for ye laddie…
Halloween had its beginnings in an ancient, pre-Christian Celtic festival of the dead. The Celtic peoples, who were once found all over Europe, divided the year by four major holidays. According to their calendar, the year began on a day corresponding to November 1st on our present calendar. The date marked the beginning of winter. Since they were pastoral people, it was a time when cattle and sheep had to be moved to closer pastures and all livestock had to be secured for the winter months. Crops were harvested and stored. The date marked both an ending and a beginning in an eternal cycle.
The festival observed at this time was called Samhain (pronounced Sah-ween). It was the biggest and most significant holiday of the Celtic year. The Celts believed that at the time of Samhain, more so than any other time of the year, the ghosts of the dead were able to mingle with the living, because at Samhain the souls of those who had died during the year traveled into the otherworld. People gathered to sacrifice animals, fruits, and vegetables. They also lit bonfires in honor of the dead, to aid them on their journey, and to keep them away from the living. On that day all manner of beings were abroad: ghosts, fairies, and demons–all part of the dark and dread.
“Boy sounds like that would tickle your fancy for the morbid now doesn’t it?” And no, this isn’t me Halloween costume, it’s me fancy duds lassie….