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Spruce up your garden for the fall, spring

Coastal gardening

By Gaye Winter

Early autumn in the South is an ideal time to rethink your landscaping if you want a fresh look. It is still hot in Mississippi; however, certain annuals will brighten up your garden and make it appear clean and crisp. 

Begonias and zinnias are good choices to add some color to your beds. Along with these, celosia and ageratum will thrive in autumn and bloom through early winter. Pansies and chrysanthemums also add color to beds or containers.

Make sure you choose plants with buds so they last throughout the season. You also can add other plants to your landscape. For instance, hydrangeas (choose the limelight variety) and roses like the cool fall weather.

This is also a great time to plant lavender. Try to choose more mature plants, as smaller ones may not survive the winter. Be sure to space the plants roughly 24 inches apart to avoid crowding. 

Additionally, don’t forget marigolds. These are great in containers or in your landscape, as they add color and a cheerful brightness wherever they are planted.

You can transplant marigolds at any time, and late-planted marigolds make beautiful additions to fall landscapes. These blooms are very useful for long-lasting color displays. 

Spring may seem far off, but you can prepare now by planting flowering bulbs. Decide which flowers you would like to see emerge and enjoy; daffodils, crocus, tulips and irises are wonderful options. Bulbs can be planted alongside your shrubs and other landscape plants. Your flowerbeds will see a burst of color in the spring when these beautiful bulbs bloom. Plant some en masse for a whole bed of beautiful bulbs come spring. This is a great time to divide and relocate some of your perennials or share the extra with a fellow gardener.

Container gardening can include some fall decorating. The containers can be used on your porch or placed in your landscape. Because it stays so warm in Mississippi, take advantage and plant some of the flowers mentioned earlier. Choose a container that fits into your fall décor, and voilà — a new look, as well as new flowers, to enjoy. 

Gaye Winter, Ph. D., teaches English at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College and is a member of the Biloxi Garden Club. Reach her at 

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