Planning a colorful garden is relatively straightforward in the spring and summer, but the true beauties are the ones that have color and interest throughout the entirety of the growing season—even in the fall! While it may require a little bit more planning, there are plenty of beautiful fall-blooming perennials to choose from that will begin or continue to shine as your summer perennials and annuals start to fade.
Here we dive into some of our favorite late summer and fall-blooming perennials to help add color to your garden this autumn—some continuing right up until the first frost of the year hits!
1. Fall Swamp Sunflower
Just like its close relative, the more mainstream garden sunflower, swamp sunflowers bring a cheery, bright pop to the garden. As you may guess from their name, these fall-blooming perennials enjoy moist soil, making them a great choice for any particularly damp areas in your yard or garden. With that said, they do prefer to be planted in full sun. Native to the United States, swamp sunflowers attract pollinators like butterflies and caterpillars and produce deep green foliage adorned with masses of daisy-like yellow blooms.
2. ‘Fireworks’ Goldenrod
If you’ve ever snubbed your nose at goldenrod for its invasive nature or less-than-desirable appearance, you may want to change your opinion after learning about ‘Fireworks’ goldenrod. This late summer and fall-blooming perennial is aptly named for shoots of golden yellow blooms that burst from its bush-like foliage when many other perennials are finishing up their bloom cycle for the year. It is another favorite among pollinators, is critter-resistant, and is relatively low-maintenance. Plant ‘Fireworks’ in full sun, and we promise you’ll change your tune about goldenrod before you know it! Trust us!
3. ‘Baby Joe’ Joe Pye Weed
Similar to swamp sunflowers, ‘Baby Joe’ is partial to moist, fertile soil but will not do well if planted in the shade. This fall-blooming perennial has a rather compact growth habit that produces tall plumes of pale pink to purple blooms around midsummer into the fall, which emerge from quite distinct, almost fuchsia flower buds.
A favorite among pollinators, asters are beautiful fall-blooming, daisy-like perennials. Their star-shaped flowers tend to start blooming in September, with colors varying from white to purple to blue. They are generally quite tough, easy-to-care-for perennials that are fairly shade-tolerant and enjoy moist, well-draining soil.
5. ‘Hot Lips’ Turtlehead
Turtleheads are a favorite in this category for a multitude of reasons. Their mounds of shiny, deep green foliage make a statement on their own early in the season. Then they grace our gardens with spikes of bright pink hooded flowers throughout late summer and into the fall. Adaptable as ever, turtleheads are fast-growing, fall-blooming perennials that reach approximately two feet tall in bloom and spread to about two feet wide.
6. Tricyrtis ‘Sinonome’ (Toad Lily)
If you’re looking for a late, late bloomer, Sinonome is your girl. This fall-blooming perennial produces showy, almost orchid-like flowers as late as October and November. It has a vase-like growth habit; its foliage adds interest to the garden in the earlier months of the growing season and is quite shade-tolerant. Sinonome is perfect in a cut garden, cottage garden, or woodland garden. Its beauty is undeniable.
7. Montauk or Nippon Daisy
Another popular cut flower, the Nippon daisy (also commonly referred to as the Montauk daisy), starts blooming in mid-summer and will continue right until the end of fall when the first frost hits. This herbaceous perennial enjoys full sun and well-draining soil, producing white petaled flowers atop shiny green foliage. It is drought tolerant and will have a bushier, more upright growth habit if cut back slightly in the spring.
8. Mexican Bush Sage
Arguably one of the more beautiful salvia varieties, Mexican Bush Sage will grace your garden with masses of spikes of purple blooms late in the growing season. This fall-blooming perennial produces traditional salvia-style flowers along unique silver-toned foliage. Mexican bush sage enjoys nutrient-rich, well-draining soil and full sun—and it’s particularly popular among hummingbirds. It is a relatively low-maintenance perennial that benefits from end-of-season pruning after all blooms are spent. You can plant Mexican bush sage at any point throughout the season, but early spring is ideal.
The leaves may be turning, and the summer blooms may be fading, but by adding some of these beauties to your garden, you’ll be happily enjoying color and interest well into the fall. Stop by Carolina Seasons to find these and other fall-blooming perennials in Greenville.
Summer time brings plenty of fun in the sun, but it’s important to pay extra special attention to watering your garden and landscape this time of year—especially new plantings. While it might be easy to assume that trees and shrubs can adapt to their landscape and don’t need as much attention as flowers do, this is not necessarily true. If you have new trees, shrubs or perennials on your property, you may be wondering how to water them. Follow this simple guide of tips on what to do and what not to do when watering this summer.
How to Water New Trees, Shrubs and Perennials
New plantings need particular attention during the first year after they have been planted. In general, new plantings need approximately one to three inches of water per week, so ensure they get this through manual watering or Mother Nature.
Before we dive into watering (pun intended), it’s imperative to ensure you plant everything properly first. Here is a general overview of the proper planting technique to get things started correctly (this may not apply to all plantings, but in general is accurate for most, so when in doubt speak to a specialist before planting):
Now, let’s look at how to keep these new plants happy in long-term:
New Trees: We encourage watering young trees deeply once or twice a week. Doing this will encourage the tree to grow deeper, healthier roots which, in the long run, are less likely to sustain damage during dry periods. Younger trees do require more frequent watering than well-established ones, but even a mature tree will need deep, regular, weekly watering during periods of hot, dry summers when we are not getting any rain for weeks at a time. Continue watering your trees until there is a sufficient amount of rain or until winter rolls around. As a general rule: New tree plantings can take up to one year to become established, so until then be sure to baby it.
In particular, evergreen trees can trick you as they tend to react slowly, and once you notice a change, it can be too late. Their needles may appear green and lush even when they are under stress; it often takes time for the outward appearance of an evergreen to reflect this stress, and once yellowing needles appear, the damage is done.
New Shrubs and Perennials: The timeline for establishment varies depending on the plant but in general new annuals, perennials and shrubs establish relatively quickly; with larger shrubs potentially taking as long as a new tree to fully establish. With that in mind, the frequency of watering will vary based on the type of plant; it will also vary depending on weather and soil quality. For example, sandy soils will drain more quickly than clay soils, and shallow-rooted shrubs such as hydrangeas or azaleas will dry out more quickly than plants with deeper rooting systems.
When to Water in the Summer
A general rule of thumb for watering not only trees, but all plants really, is to try to do so either in the morning or in the evening. If you water during the hottest portion of the day in the summer (between 10 a.m and 6 p.m.), it’s a bit of a waste of resources as a lot will be lost to evaporation. This means that your plant may not get enough water, or you’ll have to use significantly more water to ensure that it does.
In the days after planting, physically check the top of the root ball and see or feel if it is dry. You must put real effort into looking and/or feeling the plant's root ball to assess its water needs. This is how to protect your investment!
Chronic overwatering and underwatering can show the same symptoms in plants. Chronic overwatering causes plant roots to die in two ways.
Once the roots die, they cannot move water up into the plant and the plant actually looks like it's thirsty or drying out.
Being the sole water provider for your landscape during a long, hot, summer can feel like a bit of a heavy task—but it doesn’t have to! With the right tools, knowledge, and understanding, you should be able to keep your trees, shrubs and perennials nice and healthy—even in the most challenging conditions. Stop by Carolina Seasons Nursery if you have any questions about tree maintenance or are on the hunt for the perfect new plant to add to your yard!
As spring marches on, we are getting more and more excited for warm-season veggie weather! The emergence of spring brings with it the excitement of the first plantings of the year, with cool-season veggies like lettuce, spinach, and kale kicking off the growing season. But that excitement will soon be in high gear with the heat of the summer, which veggies like cucumber, zucchini, and green beans love just about as much as we do.
Lucky for us, many of these summer-loving vegetables are also relatively easy to grow! So, whether you are a seasoned gardener or just starting out, you’ll be sure to harvest a bountiful crop with these easy-to-grow vegetables.
Nothing says summer quite like the taste of a refreshing cucumber picked straight out of the garden. These warm-season vegetables are super easy to grow, making them a great choice for a kid’s garden. They do best when they get a lot of sunshine and are planted in moist, rich, well-draining soil. They also require a trellis of some kind for their vines to climb up. There are different varieties of cucumbers to choose from, depending on what your end game is.
If you’re big on summer salads, then you’ll want to grow a slicing variety, which can grow up to about a foot long. Most of our customers prefer the seedless or burpless type. The English cucumber has also been gaining in popularity over the last few years. These easy to grow summer staple vegetables are great in salads or on sandwiches. The second variety is the pickling kind, which is a bit smaller, usually growing up to about six inches long. You can harvest cucumbers once they are about two inches long and anytime after that before they start to yellow. They are the most delicious when they’re a little younger, though! Some favorites for kids and adults alike are the Baby Hybrid and Patio Snackers. They are both on the short side, almost seedless and very tasty!
Beans are super easy to grow in your garden right from seed. You’re almost guaranteed to get some sort of bean crop if you plant seeds in your garden, but if you want a killer harvest, there are a few things to know before you get planting. The first is which kind of beans you want to grow; there are pole beans and bush beans.
Pole beans grow up and spiral around a vertical support (so, another one that would require a trellis of some sort), and they mature pretty slowly. Their harvest period is generally around six to eight weeks, so if you want to have fresh, homegrown beans in your suppers all summer long - these should be your go-to.
On the other hand, bush beans grow into pretty compact plants (around 2’ tall) that have a shorter harvest period. They usually produce quite abundantly for around three to four weeks. This makes them a good choice for canning or pickling.
If you just can’t get enough of leafy greens, we would like to present to you the wonder that is Malabar Spinach. Just as other cool season leafy veggies wind down in the heat of the summer, Malabar Spinach is just getting ready to shine. It loves the heat! In addition to being one of the few leafy greens that will tolerate the heat, its foliage is also quite ornamental, so if you like mixing edible plants into your flower garden, Malabar Spinach is your girl!
While it bears the spinach name, Malabar Spinach isn’t actually a true spinach (despite what the appearance of its foliage might suggest). It also goes by monikers like Malabar nightshade, vine spinach, or climbing spinach, thanks to its climbing properties. Just like your beans and cucumbers, this is an easy to grow vegetable that will require some staking or trellises.
Malabar Spinach leaves have a pretty mild flavor that can be eaten raw or cooked. It holds up quite nicely in soups and stir-fries, and the plant itself produces a ton of seeds that you can save for next year’s growing season!
"Harvesting peppers involves a bit of personal preference, as they are generally best picked once they have reached your desired color and size."
Peppers will bring your garden game to the next level. There are so many varieties to choose from—sweet bell, habanero, cayenne, serrano, tabasco, or pimento, to name a few - and all of them have a unique, tasty quality to them. Peppers are usually best started indoors, but again, if you weren’t on top of seed starting, our greenhouse will have you covered. Our long, hot summers are perfect for growing peppers.
Harvesting peppers involves a bit of personal preference, as they are generally best picked once they have reached your desired color and size. Sweet bell peppers start out green and then mature to red, yellow, orange, purple, or white depending on the variety you have planted. Yes, green bell peppers are from the same plant as the red or yellow ones—they’re just harvested at different times! Did we just blow your mind?
Eggplant, pumpkin, spaghetti squash, and watermelon are some other warm-season vegetables you might consider growing this summer here in Greenville. But, if you’re new to growing or just want to take it a bit easy on yourself this summer when it comes to choosing what vegetables to grow, these four are a great place to start. Stop by our garden center anytime, and we’ll be happy to get you well on your way to growing a killer veggie garden this summer!
If you are hoping to become a budding fruit tree grower of the apple variety, you’ve probably heard about rootstocks by now. While the idea of planting a seed right from an apple may seem dreamy and appealing, in actuality, it’s not quite that simple! Growing a fruit tree of any kind from seed can take upward of eight years before it will start producing fruit. Furthermore, it’s just generally not how apple trees are typically grown.
The Ultimate Guide to Apple Rootstock
Apple trees are grafted (or fused) onto a rootstock that helps determine the size and strength of your tree once it has reached maturity. Grafting is a practice that has occurred for thousands of years. More recently, immense amounts of research have resulted in a list of the apple rootstocks believed to provide the best results. The online world is full of lots of complicated information, which is why we put together this guide to help you navigate your way to a better understanding of apple rootstocks.
So What Is a Rootstock, Anyway?
In simple terms, “rootstock” refers to the base of a tree, including the roots and trunk, that a scion (or the flowering or fruiting part of the tree that you see above ground) is grafted to. For the grafting process to be successful, the rootstock and scion need to be fairly close relatives. Rootstock varieties can come from a few different places: naturally growing trees, plant mutations, or genetically bred. When a “successful” rootstock is identified, it is cloned so that it can be used over and over again! In addition to determining your tree’s size and strength, apple rootstocks are also selected based on attributes like their level of disease resistance, cold hardiness, and the type of conditions they can thrive in.
What Is The Best Rootstock for Apple Trees?
When it comes to determining what the best rootstock is, there are a lot of factors to consider! What is ideal for one grower may be different for another. There are so many different rootstock variations that have been scientifically studied, bred, and established over decades. But, for the sake of simplicity in our guide, we are going to focus on some of our favorites that you can pick up at Carolina Seasons.
B9: This is what one would consider a “dwarfing” rootstock. As we mentioned earlier, rootstock variations determine the size and strength of an apple tree, and a B9 rootstock will limit the size of the tree to about 10 feet once it reaches maturity. While they are resistant to root and collar rots, they prefer a well-draining planting site and require permanent staking. The B9 rootstock produces a tree that is resistant to fire blight. B9 is also called Bud 9 which is short for Budagovsky 9.
M111: This is a vigorous semi-dwarfing rootstock that produces a tree that grows to about 85% of a standard-sized apple tree. They are considered one of the more adaptable of all rootstocks; they are quite winter hardy, have a fairly shallow-spreading root system, and are relatively drought tolerant. They are also resistant to woolly apple aphid, collar rot, root rot, and fire blight. Trees grown from an M111 rootstock will bear fruit at a relatively young age. The M111 rootstock is also known by the names MM111 and EMLA 111.
M106: An M106 rootstock is another semi-dwarfing variety that will produce a tree that is about 70% the size of a standard apple tree. They are quite productive and do not usually need staking. They should not be planted in wet spots due to their susceptibility to root rot. Rather, if you are looking to plant a tree in your backyard and go with an M106 rootstock variety, be sure to select a location with well-draining soil. Trees on the M106 rootstock are resistant to wooly apple aphid and show some resistance to fire blight. The M106 rootstock is also known as MM106 and EMLA106.
Selecting and growing an apple tree might seem overwhelming at first, but we hope this guide has helped break down some of the general mysteries in the beginning stages of that process. If you’ve still got questions, pop into our nursery, and one of our experts would be happy to help start you on your journey toward growing and enjoying delicious apples for years to come!
How to Plant & Care for Evergreen Shrubs
From Abelia to Wax Myrtle, there is a long list of evergreen shrubs that thrive in North Carolina and will lavish your yard with color and vibrancy all year long. Caring for evergreen shrubs is also simple, especially once they’re established. Here’s how to ensure your evergreen shrubs will live a long, healthy life.
When Should You Plant Evergreen Shrubs?
Planting at the right time is the first step in caring for your evergreen shrubs. In North Carolina, you can plant shrubs in the fall, late winter, and early spring, but the best time to plant is fall.
Step-By-Step Instructions for Planting Your Shrubs
Finish off your newly planted shrub with a layer of mulch about 3-4 inches thick. Not only is mulch aesthetically pleasing, but it’s also particularly good for plants that are establishing themselves in a new home. It keeps their roots cooler in summer and warmer in winter and it retains soil moisture.
Make sure your mulch layer is flat. If you create a volcano-like mound of mulch around your shrubs, it could cause them to rot and die.
Caring for Evergreen Shrubs
After you’ve planted your shrubs, it’s time to nurture them so that they successfully establish themselves in their new homes. The key? Consistent watering.
How Often You Should Water
Your shrubs could take as long as a year to get fully established, and during this time, they need to be watered frequently and regularly. For the first two weeks, very thirsty plants like Tea Olive and Wax Myrtle may need water every day or every other day. Boxwoods and Camellias don’t use as much water and may need less frequent watering. Watering once every two or three days may be enough for them. Later, you may be able to go longer between watering your new plants, but the frequency also depends on daytime temperatures and the porosity of the soil, so be sure to check the top of the root balls to make sure they are not drying out in between. Keep this up for the next few months. For example, if you planted them in the fall, keep this routine going all the way to spring. If it’s a dry spring, your frequent watering will need to continue.
Beware of Overwatering
It is possible to drown shrubs with too much water. So, keep a watchful eye on them for signs of overwatering. One such sign is leaf loss. It’s normal for newly planted shrubs to lose up to half their leaves because of the stress of being moved. However, if you give them the same amount of water consistently and they lose more than half their leaves, it’s likely because of overwatering, and you should ease off.
Wait until your shrubs are well-established before you begin fertilizing. Even after they’re established, they may not need fertilizer if they’re growing in high-quality soil or in a lawn that’s fertilized regularly.
That being said, fertilizer for recently established shrubs is proven to speed up their growth. The best fertilizer for such evergreen shrubs is the slow-release type. This type of fertilizer gradually releases nutrients. Select a slow-release fertilizer formulated for shrubs, and follow the instructions carefully. Better yet, have your soil tested. The NC Department of Agriculture Soil Lab will recommend the best type of fertilizer that fits your plants’ needs. We have the supplies needed to send samples to the lab and we will help you through the process at no cost. You can also pick up the required supplies at the Pitt County Ag Center.
Over 80 Varieties of Evergreen Shrubs at Carolina Seasons Nursery
Carolina Seasons Nursery