Capture the Beauty of the Fall Season

Krista Harding is a K-State Research and Extension agent assigned to Southwind District. She may be reached at [email protected] or 620-244-3826.

If you haven’t taken the time to just stop and admire the fall beauty that is surrounding us, you are really missing out! The trees have been most striking to me this year, but I have also noticed some shrubs and even native grass species really showing off their fall colors. The city of Fort Scott has some of the prettiest maple trees that I have seen in the area.

Even though I can appreciate the change of season and its beauty, at the same time I’ll admit that fall can be a bit depressing for me as well. All but a few annual and perennial flowers are on their “last leg” so to speak. I’m sure I’m not alone in my feelings because for any plant lover it’s kind of a sad time of year. Mainly because now that fall is here, the once beautiful flower pots filled with flowers are bare and lonely looking.

But we really shouldn’t be sad because Mother Nature has just given us a different role and other things to admire! Fall produces some warm, spicy colors and plants produce some interesting seed heads, pots, nuts and berries. Some of these items found in the fall can be put use and add to your home’s outdoor décor.

For example, consider using a combination of living and harvested plant materials to extend the growing season well beyond nature’s deadline. Flower pots can be left out and filled with nature’s own plant material to make for a dramatic focal point throughout the winter months.

Plant containers can serve as an arrangement medium for holding sticks, stalks, stones and/or late-season fruits. All kinds of fall findings can bring additional textures to an arrangement. Examples include fall foliages, starkly bare branches, cattails, ornamental grass plumes, smooth-shelled nuts, evergreen cuttings, and flower-like seed heads. Mini pumpkins won’t last too long after freezing, but colorful gourds can sometimes last for months in an outdoor display.

Gardeners often forget that the frost-proof plants used to brighten early spring can also help create a fall display – in some years living on well into December. Pansies and ornamental kale, can be a striking contrast for autumn’s changing leaf colors and can remain attractive after the trees are bare.

As Christmas approaches, you can change out the pots and use some red-twigged dogwood branches, pine tips for the berries and evergreen cuttings. And if your imagination runs even more, you can light things up with a small spotlight or string of mini lights.

Containers need to be sealed or otherwise waterproof so they can survive the worst of winter’s freeze-thaw cycles. Sometimes the winters can crack or chip an urn made of concrete if it’s unsealed and gets wet. Check your pots to make certain they are sealed or waterproofed.

So before you store your pots away for the winter, be a little creative and scavenger around for some of Mother Nature’s finest pieces of work and let your imagination go to work!


K-State Research and Extension is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

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