Fall means a lot of things in the South — football, tailgates, the coming holiday season, cool weather, warm cider, to name a few. It’s also the best time of year to get in your garden and plant trees and shrubs. According to Birmingham Botanical Gardens, the cool weather helps maintain good soil moisture and means plants are approaching dormancy. All that means plants don’t stress out when you place them in the soil.
The Gardens annual Fall Plant Sale is a great place to stock up on plants specifically chosen for Alabama’s soil and climate. It’s this weekend — Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. We asked John Manion, curator of their Kaul Wildflower Garden and native plant guru extraordinaire, to give Liberty Parkers some good fall planting ideas of what to look for at the sale and in local nurseries. Here are his top 13 choices:
- Liatris spicata ‘Blazing Star’
- Passiflora incarnata ‘Maypop’
- Physostegia virginiana ‘Vivid’ (obedient plant)
- Muhlenbergia capillaris (purple muhly grass)
- Lonicera sempervirens ‘Alabama Crimson’ (trumpet honeysuckle)
- Hibiscus coccineus (scarlet hibiscus)
- Symphyotrichum georgianum (Georgia aster)
- Symphyotrichum elliottii (Elliott’s aster)
- Symphyotrichum oblongifolium (aromatic aster)
- Hydrangea spp. (several species)
- Lindera benzoin (spice bush)
- Oxydendrum arboreum (sassafras)
- Viburnum spp. (several species)
John also teaches classes at The Gardens and even occasionally puts together field trips for the real plant lovers. Check out some of the class offerings online.
If you can’t make it out to the Fall Plant Sale, a number of nurseries and garden centers near Liberty Park have a great selection of plants to choose from this time of year. You can also visit the Alabama Extension Cooperative System with questions or for gardening resources.