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Fall-Blooming Perennials for PNW Gardens

Fall-Blooming Perennials for PNW Gardens

As we head into fall, many plants are coming to the end of their flowering season. It’s a good idea to make sure that you are planting a few late season perennials that will bloom well into the fall.

Here are some beauties you may want to consider adding to your perennial borders to give your landscape interest and color in autumn.

Image of a purple Geranium ‘Rozanne’ or Rozanne Cranesbill Geranium, just one many colorful fall blooming perennials to choose from.

Geranium ‘Rozanne’ (Rozanne Cranesbill Geranium)

‘Rozanne’ is one of the hardiest geraniums and has a long, extended bloom time from late spring to late fall (first frost). ‘Rozanne’ is a champion, with its plentiful, unusual blue-purple blooms highlighted against deeply divided, attractive mid-green foliage. Geranium ‘Rozanne’ grows quickly up to 20” tall and can spread up to 24” wide, and as such makes a great groundcover.

This plant likes rich, moist, well-drained soil that is neutral or slightly alkaline. It performs well in part sun but can appreciate some afternoon shade in hotter areas. It pairs well with Acorus (Japanese flag grass) or Achillea ‘Moonshine’, when planted in the landscape. The soft yellow leaves or flowers contrasting with the bright purple flowers. The benefit of this geranium is that it is self-cleaning and requires no dead-heading, making it a truly low maintenance plant. Attractive to bees. Moderate water needs.

Close up image of one of many essential fall blooming perennials: a white Anemone x hybrida  or Japanese Anemone with a bright yellow center.

Anemone x hybrida (Japanese Anemone)

The Japanese anemone is an essential fall-blooming perennial. There are many elegant hybrids of Japanese anemones available that are usually either white or pink or a mix of the two. Their time to shine is truly in the fall! They spread by rhizomes and can take over an area, so it’s best to give them plenty of space, although it will take them 1-2 years to establish. Depending on the hybrid, they reach approximately 1-3’ tall and 1-2’ wide.

Japanese anemones like partial shade but will become too leggy with too much shade and will wilt in the hot afternoon sun. They are perfect for Japanese- and Asian-inspired gardens. The hybrid ‘Honorine Jobert’ has truly white, big, graceful flowers with yellow centers that glow in dappled shade locations. ‘September Charm’ is a beautiful, light pink hybrid, which has huge flowers and is attractive to butterflies. Anemones like rich, well-drained soil that shouldn’t dry out. Regular, seasonal applications of compost will keep this plant happy. Moderate water needs. Relatively disease and pest free. Deer and rabbit resistant. The leaves can develop some powdery mildew if planted in too much shade.

Image of a bunch of bright yellow Rudbeckia hirta or Brown-Eyed Susan flower, a great choice out of many colorful fall blooming perennials.

Rudbeckia hirta (Brown-Eyed Susan)

Brown-eyed Susans are a classic fall-blooming perennial in Pacific Northwest gardens. Their long bloom time reaches well into fall (June-September), ensuring that this plant is a staple to plant along a path in your landscape. Rudbeckia is in the Asteraceae family and has the typical aster disc center with orange-yellow ray flowers surrounding it. They typically reach 2-3’ tall and 1-2’ wide.

Brown-eyed Susans are attractive to pollinators, specifically butterflies. These flowers like full sun, rich soils, and moderate water. They should be regularly deadheaded to get the best performance of a long bloom period.

There are a great many exciting cultivars available to bring some variety into your garden. It is worth browsing in a local nursery to find the ones you like best. Rudbeckia hirta ‘Moreno’ has an effective contrast of deep burgundy on the inner part of the petals and orange on the outside. Rudbeckia triloba ‘Prairie Glow’ has two-tone petals of maroon and a lighter reddish pink.

Contact Frontier Landscaping for more information and help with selecting and adding perennials and other plants to your garden.

Enjoy your patio this winter!

Enjoy your patio this winter!

Updating your patio can make it an area you enjoy year round. With new restrictions gathering outdoors can give you peace of mind to spend quality time with your family and observe social distance this winter.

Having an outdoor living area creates the feeling of an extension of your home. As we are spending more and more time indoors and at home this year your patio can offer you a personal escape from the stresses of everyday life, distance learning and working from home take a toll and having a patio to escape can help you stay sane and connected to your landscape.

Fire Pits

A fire pit is the perfect spot to gather and relax with your family this winter. They provide warmth, community (even if it’s just your family gathering right now), and the feeling of being around a campfire, right in your own backyard. We are experts at designing your fire pit to integrate into other areas of your landscaping so you can enjoy it year round.

We can integrate water permeable stone or pavers, space for seating, and paths to weave from your home to your fire area and have everything function for safety and long lasting durability.

Outdoor Seating

Comfort is the key to enjoying your outdoor space. Investing in long lasting outdoor seating will make your patio a place you can truly enjoy. The Northwest naturally has a damp winter climate so storing your cushions out of the rain is the key to helping them last longer. You can include a built in storage area into the design of your patio, so that when you want to add additional comfort they are not packed far away.

Including seating to your patio design in the form of benches and seating areas around a fire pit is an additional enhancement that will personalize your space. Adding touches of home can help you blend your personal style with your patio by using pillows, candles, and outdoor art to style your space.

Landscape Lighting

Adding lighting on your patio, not only improves the safety to you and your family, it also changes the mood. We use energy efficient LED lighting to enhance your patio. There are so many different types of outdoor lights available now, we can help you create a style all your own, or mimic the designs in your home. Lights really make a patio or seating area welcoming and we can enhance your system by adding dimmers, motion lights, or uplighting specimen plants in your landscape.
We can install all your lighting needs, from lighting pathways to and from your fire pit, to spotlightling trees you want to see from your back patio.

Bring plants closer to your home with containers on your patio

Container gardens on your patio are the perfect way to bring your landscape closer to your home. Planting a container garden is a great way to have fresh herbs, like rosemary or bay leaf, just a few steps away from the grill or your kitchen door. Container gardening is a great way to bring nature closer to your home and enjoy beautiful plants in all seasons.

You can also change your pots throughout the year to add seasonal interest! Things to plant this time of year include, winter pansies, small evergreen trees decorated for the holidays, or spring flowering bulbs.

We love creating beautiful patios and outdoor living spaces for you to enjoy- year round. Contact us today for an outdoor living space that maximizes your enjoyment, relaxation, and functionality.

Treating Summer Drought Stress in your Landscape

Fall is  an excellent time for landscape improvements, the sun’s still shining, temperatures are more mellow. Plants love this time of year, it’s perfect to establish healthy roots and still mild enough to work outdoors comfortably.

When you go outside this month to decorate your porch or rake your leaves you may start to notice plants struggling that were looking healthy during the summer. This can confuse and bewilder homeowners. A once healthy fir tree may start dropping its needles, or a mature ornamental tree will drop its leaves a month early. Although it’s  been weeks since the summer heat wave, these are symptoms your landscape was under summer water stress.

What’s normal and what is a sign for concern? This can be hard to determine but here are some troubleshooting tips to help you prevent and diagnose drought stress in your landscape:

Needle drop on your conifers 

You have established conifers that are losing their needles like crazy. This can be dramatic, but it is usually a normal part of getting ready for winter for most conifers. If the interior needles (closest to the trunk) of your trees are shedding that is probably normal.

Signs to watch out for: The center branch (central leader) having dieback issues. This is a sign the tree could not get water into its system. The tips or new growth drying out and losing needles or entire branches. A tree care professional can determine if selective pruning will help your plant recover or not.

Leaf drop or branch die off in ornamentals 

Die out in the crown or on main branches of trees or early leaf drop can be dramatic and very concerning to homeowners. Many deciduous ornamental and flowering trees will drop leaves in order to combat drought stress.  On young plants you can slightly scrape the bark and if you reveal green it’s likely going to be ok. Maintenance involves diagnosing issues, removing any dead wood and in many cases this will restore the plant’s health. 

Early fall color on ornamental shade trees or shrubs

Although beautiful, this can be alarming! Check to see if leaf buds are still developing normally in the dormant period. These can usually be found at the base of the dropping leaf. Be mindful to offer irrigation during dry autumn times, or dry spells prior to a frost.

Perennials browning or crisping, dropping flowers early 

It is not uncommon for perennials to be looking rough by the fall. If you have flowers and ornamental grasses in your landscape that have well established root systems, this is probably not cause for alarm. You can wait for the foliage to begin to die back naturally and then help by cutting back remaining foliage. Landscape technicians will mulch leaving some space for the crown of perennial plants to emerge the next spring.

Plants need a lot less water by the time September comes around, but once the ground is freezing, plants cannot take up moisture, even if the surrounding soil is moist. So water your plants and trees that are in containers and the landscape prior to a freeze.

Disease and Pests 

Pathogens and insects often attack plants when they are undergoing stress. Ongoing landscape maintenance is the key to monitoring and keeping your garden healthy to prevent diseases and infestations before they start. If you do have an issue that requires treatment, increasing the overall health of your soil and plant is imperative to helping your plants recover. Multiple threats will attack stressed plants, so make sure an experienced professional diagnoses all your disease and insect issues.

Landscape techniques to prevent summer drought stress

Regular steady irrigation schedule, adjusted to the seasonal weather conditions is so important to establishing a healthy landscape.

An automatic sprinkler or drip irrigation system. These actually save you money and conserve water by getting your landscape the irrigation it needs in regular intervals. 

Give your landscape trees room to mature, do not plant annuals and perennials right at the base of trees. Give a buffer of 3-5 feet around trees to ensure that you do not drown or bury the base of your tree in bark, compost or other plantings. Young trees need longer durations of deep watering than other plants, so be sure to target their needs specifically.

Monitor slopes and drainage issues. Areas of the landscape on hills or slopes often need water delivered at a slower rate. They also pose a challenge to plant your landscape plants at the proper depth.

Ongoing landscape maintenance will help prevent stress issues, but if your garden is displaying the symptoms of drought stress this fall, we can help you diagnose and salvage your landscape so that by next spring it is revitalized and healthy again.

Call us today to schedule your landscape maintenance or tree care consultation. 

Fall is a Great Time for Landscape Add-ons and Renovations.

Have you been wanting to freshen up your space and give your backyard a new feel?  Perhaps you’ve thought of transforming your backyard into an entertainment space, perfect for hosting get-together’s and even Holiday events if the weather is right. Below, we selected six renovation ideas to spruce up your landscaping and get your backyard ready for anything.

1. Adding Hardscape

Looking to add texture to your backyard design? Adding hardscape will greatly increase your backyard’s appeal and usability.  Hardscape design can be simple, like a river rock path meandering through your greenery. Or you can choose to be bold and do the entire backyard in natural stone slabs., pavers or something entirely different. There are endless design options you can create by choosing natural stone, pavers, bricks, river rocks and more. Our Professionals at Frontier Landscape can help you design outdoor spaces that are truly your own.

Adding hardscape can also create a kid and pet friendly play space. 

2. Build a Retaining Wall

Do you have a sloped backyard? Building a retaining wall, or a tiered retaining wall, can create depth and add character.  Kick your design up a notch by adding flowers, plants, shrubs, or even a couple of trees.

3. Design a “Native” Landscape Area

In Washington, we have many different colorful trees and shrubs that add texture and form to your Landscape. You might try a Red Dogwood or Ninebark for year-round color. Planting a Native Garden keeps us in touch with the flora around us.

4. Create a Natural Outdoor Space

Do you find lush trees and cascading waterfalls relaxing?  You can use natural rock slabs to create a waterfall and river that re-circulates through your yard.  Plant trees that give a home to birds, and add bird feeders throughout your backyard.

While you’re at it, add a hammock for relaxing at the end of a long day for when the season rolls back around.

5. Add a Garden or Planter Boxes

Ready for some garden to table living? Starting your own edible garden with fruits and veggies can be very rewarding.  You can start big or small, depending on what your outdoor space will allow. Planter boxes are perfect for creating an area for fruits, vegetables, or herbs to grow without compromising on space. This can be rather seasonal depending on your location and winter temperatures. But… once you have the Garden or Planter Boxes, you can rotate “off-season” with color/flowers that work well when your edibles do not.

Our final thoughts on renovating your backyard:

Add some personal touches!  Maybe some outdoor sculpture with an artistic flare…Consider adding lighting (pathway lights, twinkle lights or tiki torches), a fire pit, or maybe even a bocce ball court.  Personal finishing touches will bring your backyard renovation together and make it the perfect place to relax and welcome friends and family. Have fun and make it your own!

Whatever your backyard renovation dreams or desires are, we want to be a part of them!  Contact US!  or visit our contact page to schedule an appointment with our Frontier Landscaping Professionals. Start making your backyard dreams a reality.

Contact US to schedule an appointment!

Fire Pits and Outdoor Spaces for Fall

Fire pits are a popular and comforting addition to any yard, especially in the temperate Pacific Northwest! As our weather begins to change, our busy lives do too. Work, school, kids and Pre-holiday projects are picking up as we enter the Fall Season.

What better time than now to consider putting in a Fire pit? You have likely thought about it on many occasions, but not gotten around to it. Maybe now IS a perfect time.

Here are some of the advantages to consider…

  • Increase your outdoor season. Mother Nature decides what portion of the year that we can spend outdoors – or comfortably anyway. An outdoor fire pit extends the portion of the year that you can spend in your backyard by providing a heat source. Outdoor gatherings and family evenings can still be enjoyed well into the Fall and sometimes beyond.
  • Creating an Outdoor Gathering place. People love to gather around a fire. A fire pit gives you the perfect focal or gathering point where you can relax with family, friends, and neighbors. Putting the word out that you are having a fire that night, and your people will come!
  • Light… Let’s face it, fires provide heat but they also provide light. When you add a fire pit to your backyard or outdoor spaces, you are also adding light.
  • Adding art and ambiance. Fire pits also add a focal point and a touch of artistry to your outdoor spaces. If it’s a block ring to beautifully tiled fire pits made with natural stone, slate, blocks, and even the addition of water, you can really add beauty along with warmth and light to your yard or garden.
  • Fire Pit functionality. In addition to the warmth, light and ambiance that fire pits provide, there are some things that can also be very functional.

Slate, wood burning fire pit.

Block Fire Pit with Grill

Some fire pits can be equipped with a grilling surface for barbecues or convert to a table. They can be wood burning, propane or natural gas and light with a push of a button or ignite the old-fashioned way… The different versions and possibilities are endless. Based on your personal taste and sense of style, our Frontier Landscaping Staff can help you with the best “version” for you.

Contact US to schedule an appointment!

Why Fall is the Time to Invest in Your Landscape

Why is Fall a great time to invest in your Landscape?
There are many reasons to do this at any time as it increases personal enjoyment and also adds to your overall property value. But…beyond that, Fall has it’s own reasons for you to take that step.

Frontier Landscaping explains why…
Planting trees and shrubs in fall so that you can reap the benefits come next summer. Success rates are much higher this time of year and maintenance required is lower (since the rain and cool temperatures keep roots moist), and so this is a great time to invest in your landscape.

Turf Health

The fall fertilization is what allows your turf to look beautiful next spring. This is the single most important application of any cool season turf program. (Fescue is considered a cool season grass.) Fall is also the best time for seeding, aerating, de-thatching, and soil health applications.

Color Accents

The fall cycle of installing color is the most under-utilized season and it shouldn’t be. A well-designed fall flower pot planted in September can last until December, which is every bit as good of an investment as summer flowers. Or… A color planter could utilize some of our conifers and other evergreens to last throughout the year…Many additions are possible and add greatly to the value of your Landscapes.

Plant Installation

Landscape plantings are such a gratifying addition to any property. Many people assume if they don’t plant in spring, that they missed their window of opportunity and that’s that. This is another false assumption. Fall temperatures are ideal for planting. Plants are less likely to stress after planting in fall. Fall is also when tree inventories are at their most fresh as a rule. When planting in the fall, there is a greater assurance of success with your selected plants.

Landscape Maintenance

During fall, our Frontier landscape Maintenance crews begin the process of dividing perennials, clearing leaves, fertilizing plants, and pruning for structure. The cooler temperatures also mean that shearing of hedges can commence without the risk of burning the plants. This active maintenance season sets your landscape up for a beautiful spring. If you have sensitive plants, additional mulching can occur to insulate roots and crowns. Without this care, much of the landscape won’t thrive the following year, so taking care of your plants in the Fall helps to ensure a robust and lush season come spring.

Contact us to schedule an appointment and get started on your fall planting