Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Brenda Kipp: Views from the Heartland
Fall is more than just a transitional season. Fall is my favorite time of the year. I eagerly anticipate the first signs of autumn — trees and bushes turning colors, chrysanthemums beginning to bloom, and the air turning cool and crisp.
For some, autumn is merely a bridge from summer’s heat to winter’s cold, but fall should be enjoyed for the rich, vibrant colors it offers.
For those of us who like to spend time out in the yard, autumn can be more than just raking leaves and preparing the ground for winter. It can be a time to enjoy the season to its fullest.
In recent years the popularity of ornamental grasses and colorful bushes have added beauty to residential and commercial landscapes long after spring and summer flowers are gone.
If you are contemplating adding these and other autumn-loving plants to your garden but don’t know where to begin, two books from Storey will help you get started. Foliage by Nancy J. Ondra and Fallscaping by Nancy J. Ondra and Stephanie Cohen give you expert advice on which plants are best for your yard and the climate in your area.
In Foliage Ondra describes different varieties of plants in vibrant reds, brilliant golds, subtle silvers, rich purples, and amazing multicolors. The book is divided up into leaf textures — spiky, bold, medium, fine, and lacy — to help you decide what plants you would like in your garden.
An excellent companion to this book is Ondra and Cohen’s book, Fallscaping, which covers ornamental grasses, seed- and berry-producing plants, annuals and perennials, vines, shrubs, and trees. The authors provide advice on planning and designing your garden, creating a new garden site, fall planting and transplanting, pruning, preparing plants for winter, container gardening, improving soil, and caring for your lawn and tools.
With these two books at your disposal, there’s no excuse not to have a beautifully landscaped yard bursting with color in the fall. My yard wouldn’t be able to contain all the plants I would like to have from the pages of these books, but I’m getting excited about visiting one of my local nurseries to check out which of these plants would work best for my yard.
Enjoy the autumn season!
A native Kansan, Brenda Kipp loves wide-open spaces and the history of the Old West. She’s a freelance writer and former editor of Capper’s magazine. She continues to work for Ogden Publications (publisher of Capper’s) as a circulation specialist. Her hobbies include reading, writing, genealogy, traveling, cooking, gardening, and spending time with family and friends. She lives in Topeka with her three cats.
Photos by Brenda L. Kipp, Rock Garden in Gage Park, Topeka, Kansas