If you have been waiting for that first chill to arrive to begin the cool season flower plantings - well it's here. When fall arrives, many residents are itching to make their plantings but you have to wait until the weather tells you it's time. Most of these fall through winter flowers need the cooler weather to be good performers.
The list of fall plantings is long and contains many favorites. Some already in my flower beds or hanging baskets include alyssum, petunias (pictured), pansies and dianthus. Many like pansies already come with the flowers fully open. You know, it's kind of interesting most gardeners will not purchase a flower unless it's in bloom. Yet, some real winners like hollyhocks, delphinium and California poppies would only be green at this time.
It's always best to get to know your flowers and what can be expected in the garden. Like the above mentioned selections, some are not going to be good performers until the late winter and spring months but they should be planted now. Others including the alyssum, geraniums and snapdragons that were purchased with blooms are going to open buds almost continually from the first time they are set in the soil through spring unless affected by a freeze.
It is important to note, of all the flowers, the pansies and violas are the most freeze proof. The day after a hard freeze they can be seen opening their blooms. All others need some form of freeze protection or they are likely to be injured. Check our complete list of cool season flowers under December plantings in our Tom's Gotta Do's article.