November 19, 2013
Many years, the cool fall temperatures will give our summer color annuals one more chance for a colorful show. Today I'm at the North Mississippi Research and Extension Center in Verona and sharing some of their beautiful landscape trial gardens. While we are in the fall season, the landscape zinnia are getting their second wind. I really like the Zahara Cherry zinnia. The cooler temperatures are allowing the bright pastels of the zinnia to shine in their landscape bed. One of the hottest trends for any season in landscape color is anything burgundy. A plant that I think is a fantastic choice for our Mississippi landscapes is Mahogany Splendor hibiscus. This plant has leaves with deep, coarse serrated edges that are a dark and dramatic burgundy purple color. Many times a visitor will do a double take thinking this is a Japanese maple. Mahogany Splendor is a vigorous growing plant; this group has been pruned to maintain a manageable size. Ornamental peppers are one of those plants that wait until the fall months to heat up the landscape. Perfect examples are these Masquerade peppers. The fruit are held upright above the foliage seeming to be showing off the colors ranging from yellow, orange, red and bright lavender. These peppers are really hot in the landscape. While we're being tempted to plant cool season bedding plants, being patient with the summer plants can reward us in the fall season. I'm horticulturist Gary Bachman for Southern Gardening.