Articles by Jim Gainan

As published in the Billings Gazette

Growing Up: Plant your perennials, trees and spring-blooming bulbs this fall

JIM GAINAN Growing Up | Posted: Sunday, September 5, 2010 12:00 am

During this time of year I always remember the anticipation of going back to school. The duality of excitement and nerves was always confusing.  Will I finally be as tall as the shortest guy in class? Are these the 'right' clothes? Will I like my teacher? 

Remember those days when you needed a coat in the morning, and it was so easily forgotten on the playground because it wasn't needed in the afternoon?  Cool crisp mornings greet us giving us the notion that cooler temps are on the way, but something great happens when the temperature is back to summer levels by noon the same day. 

Remember to think about spring while you're out there working in your yard this fall. This is the time to plant spring blooming bulbs — tulips, daffodils, crocus, hyacinth, etc.  Also, fall is a great time to plant perennials, trees and shrubs. Plants experience much less transplant shock when they are planted in the fall.  The shorter days and cooler nights create less need for water.  Plus, you'll have some really fun surprises of color when spring arrives in a few short months. 

Spring perennials like phlox, basket of gold, bellis, iris and tulips get things started joined in mid-summer by perennials such as veronica, campanula, sage, peony and catmint. Some gardens rely on annuals to provide color in the fall while others come alive with a cast of late-season perennials, each contributing in their own way to the "grand finale". The beauty of fall emerges with the late-season blooms of black-eyed Susan, Russian sage, sedum, aster and mums, to name a few. 

Now is the time to add perennial color to your landscape. 

Jim Gainan is VP/Shareholder of Gainan's Flower and Garden Center in Billings