Chicago gardeners, holding on to the lingering beauty of summer is spiritually satisfying and economically sound. Removing your annuals as they fade away and saving their seeds is wise.
But, what about the empty spaces in your containers and flower beds? Fill those empty spaces with fall plants, foliage and flowers, especially those that prefer cool weather.
Ornamental cabbage and kale are available now at your favorite nursery. Numerous cultivars are hardy, colorful and edible. Their blue, lavender, pink, red, violet or white centers and curly leaves add a touch of glamor in containers, beds and borders. The colder the weather the more brilliant they become. Their tasty leaves are rich in vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidants.
Chrysanthemums are another spectacular choice for those spaces left by your summer annuals. They are native to the Arctic Circle regions of North and Central Russia, China and Japan. The numerous flower heads create stunning displays. You can also make delicious, delicate chrysanthemum flower tea from the dried flower heads. Pick the dried flower heads from the plant, rinse them under hot water, place them in a pot, pour boiling water into the pot and let the leaves steep until the tea is yellow. Pour tea into a cup and sweeten, if desired.
Asters, pansy, and sweet pea also enjoy cool weather. Fill in the empty spaces with these lovely flowers. You can also add grasses, herbs and foliage to your planters. Branches can be left natural or sprayed with gold, silver, red, orange and yellow lacquer and used to decorate containers.
Gradually add these fall plants and enjoy your lovely, autumn garden. On bright, sunny, fall afternoons revel in your garden’s beauty while you sip refreshing, chrysanthemum flower tea.
Live long and well—garden.
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