Planting vegetables and flowers should be as easy as popping a few seeds in some decent potting soil, adding water and sunlight, then sitting back while nature does its work. Alternately, gardeners might go to the local nursery, choose a few plants from the selection, providing sunlight and watering as needed.
Alas, that is not the case, especially in a society as transient as ours.
Successful gardens, whether container-style, or in-the-ground varieties, depend upon knowledge of the ideal conditions for plants, and choosing those which thrive in different climates. Even container gardens fare better when Hardiness Zones are considered.
Hardiness Zones are indicated by the ten colored bands you’ll find on seed packets or in the pages of gardening magazines. Each zone is divided into two sub-zones, which indicate the five-degree temperature differences within a zone during winter and summer, which may play a role in plants that are particularly temperature-sensitive.
Here in North Metro Atlanta, we’re mostly Zone 7 (with the majority of Windsong communities located in 7a). While it is too late to start plants from seed (unless you have a greenhouse or plan an indoor garden), it’s the perfect time to plant several edibles that can yield harvests in time for Thanksgiving and beyond. Kale, the latest “super-vegetable,” is among those that you can harvest through November, along with broccoli, spinach, beets, and several varieties of carrots.
It’s also a great time to plant chives from seed or bulb divisions (frost won’t hurt them), as well as dill, garlic (fall-planted bulbs offer larger yields than those planted in spring), rosemary, and sage.
As for ornamental container gardens, choose traditional “fall color” plants, such as mums, pansies, and asters. You can add texture and height with ornamental grasses, evergreens, and ivy. For visual interest, add a couple of pumpkins or include a sculpture in your container.
Following planting instructions regarding sunlight and watering, as well as proper soil composition, will ensure healthy, attractive plants to adorn your porch or courtyard.
Windsong is known for including “user-friendly” outdoor living spaces, where homeowners can create the garden retreat that suits their individual needs and interests. Drive through any Windsong community and you’ll notice courtyards and porch containers that are as varied as the individuals who live in each home.
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