Extending the Season/Creating Fall and Winter Interest

Extending the Season/Creating Fall and Winter Interest

Part of Ep. 1504 Celebrate Fall

Extend the growing season in Door County's Bailey's Harbor with Caleb Whitney. Whitney shares some commerical landscape beds that are season appropriate. Learn which plants and flowers are best for the fall and winter.

Premiere date: Oct 31, 2007

TRANSCRIPT+
Wisc Gardener Transcript: 

Shelley Ryan:
We are standing in front of the town hall in Bailey's Harbor in Door County, Wisconsin to learn about extending the growing season, and I'm with Caleb Whitney of Green Side Up, and Caleb, thank you for sharing this gorgeous bed with us. This is kind of what your company, Green Side Up, specializes in is this kind of beautiful seasonal display.

Caleb Whitney:
Yes it is. My wife and I, Kristen work primarily in commercial landscapes.

Shelley:
So, town hall, other public buildings.

Caleb:
Correct, where you really want to push that season. You want to have energy. You want to have constant change throughout the season. And this particular bed is kind of fun because it's a partnership; it's a great example of how say as a master gardener you could work as a communtity. The town, the municipality paid for part of it. The community association paid for part of it, and we've donated a lot of time and effort to it, so this is a great opportunity/model for that. Within this space, we have segmented off a section of seasonal display. We have primarily perennials, but there is an area that we change out completely four times a year.

Shelley:
Ok, and that's this.

Caleb:
And that's right here. We start about May 1st with frost hearty annuals: Pansies, Dusty Miller, Snapdragons, anything that's been hardened off by the nursuries. That segways into our summer planting.

Shelley:
More bold, vibrant.

Caleb:
Crazy stuff, yeah, that can fill its own space. Breaks every person's heart, that comes out completely before it goes ugly because we're starting the--it's burned out through the summer--it's going to--prior to frost now we do fall display.

Shelley:
Now do you also do a winter display in this same spot?

Caleb:
Yes, this will all come out about just after Thanksgiving. And it will become a winters greens display.

Shelley:
Oh, pretty, Ok.

Caleb:
You really do get a full seasons worth of--yes.

Shelley:
Four times a year, ok. Well then since we're focusing on the fall display, let's start with this. Where do you start with something like this? This is gorgeous.

Caleb:
Everything comes out.

Shelley:
It's naked, eeek.

Caleb:
Right, and then you work with the big stuff first.

Shelley:
So, you put in the hardscape.

Caleb:
Correct, because you need--in the seasonal displays, you need to help some of those plants because they're a uniform height.

Shelley:
So you different heights because--and in any garden, really.

Caleb:
Correct, so we start with high, and stay simple. It's not cabinetry.

Shelley:
Oh, so you just had a fence post underneath a hollow--that's a great idea, that's easy.

Caleb:
Real simple inexpensive. This is just screwed to two more fenceposts. This guy's just a PVC frame.

Shelley:
The scarecrow's just a frame underneath it? No stuffing or anything.

Caleb:
Correct. He's clean, fun to dress, and he actually can be dressed as Santa Clause too, so.

Shelley:
Well there you go! Well then let's talk about some of the plants too because those are to me the star of the garden. First of all I see what I could have sworn was Dusty Miller, but I've never seen it bloom.

Caleb:
It has to do with the fact that that went in May 1st. We have really good soil, lot's of compost, and we also use the water absorption crystals both in the ground and in the containers.

Shelley:
Oh, so you like those.

Caleb:
Yes, but a little goes a long way.

Shelley:
So, you know, we Americans I think are always doing too much. Look at the label, read the instructions.

Caleb:
You'll have a lava overflow otherwise.

Shelley:
Well Dusty Miller sounds like it's the only thing that stays in this garden throughout the entire season.

Caleb:
Correct.

Shelley:
So, tell me about some of the other things that you do to punch up the color for fall.

Caleb:
There's a whole family of charts. Yellows, oranges, reds.

Shelley:
Gorgeous, vibrant colors.

Caleb:
Cabbages, as that gets colder it will become more and more purple.

Shelley:
So these are the ornamental cabbages known as Kales.

Caleb:
And then we move on to the Mums, and you can see Shelley that when we put them in we chose closed buds.

Shelley:
Yeah, I noticed that.

Caleb:
Because if--it's a little less color; you've got lots going on, but you want to extend that season because if you bring them all in open.

Shelley:
If they're all blooming at the same time then they're all going to be done at the same time.

Caleb:
As that bloom goes on and starts to brown you just take it off.

Shelley:
Dead-head it.

Caleb:
And it stays a nice clean green mound while the others start to flower--take up their space.

Shelley:
So that's a really good tip is to remember don't get everything blooming at the same time.

Caleb:
That's right.

Shelley:
Ok.

Caleb:
And then sometimes things aren't always in where they need to be. Don't be afraid, especially with Dusty Miller. It doesn't take much to transplant that.

Shelley:
Wow, you're just-you're kind of brutal with them. They can handle it.

Caleb:
Yup, shake them up. Survival of the fittest. Put them back in, water them in well, and they'll do just fine.

Shelley:
Well see this is beautiful, but now you mentioned it a couple times, the idea of ripping everything out breaks the heart of most gardeners. What do I do if I have an established perrenial bed?

Caleb:
Actually you don't even need a garden at all to have fun with seasonal displays. You can work right onto a patio space.

Shelley:
Ooohhh. No dirt at all. No soil, nothing, just concrete.

Caleb:
No, nothing. And as those plants burn out, you can take them away, replace them. You can put in pumpkins, squashes, anything that you want to go with.

Shelley:
I like it.

Caleb:
Or within a planting space.

Shelley:
Where you've got permanent plants. Now ok it looks to me like you've got the same plants in different containers, so you can use like a terra cotta to kind of upscale the planting.

Caleb:
Exactly, you set the mood with your hardscape.

Shelley:
So you're using--but basically again the Mums and the cabbages, same plants.

Caleb:
Correct. Same plants but different containers, so that's very straight, very traditional.

Shelley:
So what's this?

Caleb:
This is quirky.

Shelley:
This is definitely quirky. Same plants, but look what you've done.

Caleb:
This is a vintage tire.

Shelley:
I love it, what a great container.

Caleb:
Up it pops, set it up high, lift it up, enjoy it, fill it up with the same plants.

Shelley:
So you recycle old tires with this, this is great. Ok then the last question though, what on earth is this? I love it. I want one in my garden.

Caleb:
That is a slice of American History. It's a Bottle Tree. It comes from the American South. It's a blending of all the cultures: African, Carribean, White. It traps your ancestral ghosts in the pretty blue bottles.

Shelley:
Oh that is--my son would just love that in a garden.

Caleb:
And it looks great in the winter.

Shelley:
Oh boy with that blue color it would be gorgeous. Well Caleb, you've given me some great ideas; I can't wait to try it in my own perennial beds. Thank you.

Caleb:
And thank you Shelley.

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