Thursday, September 01, 2011

It's Time For The Cabbages!

Some of you may remember last year that this was the time of year I pulled out my summer container plantings and went on a hunt for ornamental cabbages.

I am sure there will be some small cabbages in the hayracks.

Cabbages are wonderful in the fall garden opening up pink, red and white.  I will add some pansies and some gourds and small pumpkins when it gets closer to Halloween.  Yikes, did I say Halloween already?

I thought maybe this year would be different but it's not, same intense heat and lots of moisture so the plantings are beginning to look done even though I have fertilized and trimmed often.

The concrete containers by the garage were just fine for most of the summer but I am having trouble keeping them watered because of the size of the roots.  They are just begging for a big cabbage!

Added Rudbeckia and cabbage, kept the Blue Mohawk Rush from the summer container.  This cabbage will open up as it grows to a beautiful rose pink.

I have some large feathery cabbage pictured in the tall brown ceramic pots.

Pineapple Splash Coleus, impatiens, fuchsia, angelonia and dracena held up well during the summer, but now it is a minimized fall planter with cabbage and the full grown dracena from the summer.

The cabbage is enough "pop" in this container for the fall.

I did plan ahead this year with colors and plants that I could utilize in my fall planters such as grasses and bronze colored sweet potato vine.

Even though the colors look fall, the sweet potato vine and impatiens will be gone with the first hint of cold weather.  Diamond frost euphorbia will hold up until frost as will the carex grass.  I am sure there will be cabbages in these front planters also.

The Emerald Isle Sweet Potato Vine was a beauty all summer and the Irish pots will be cleaned and put away for the winter.

The Bronze Sweet Potato vine was a surprise this year flowering off and on all summer.

I am trying to avoid doing too many mums as they do not hold up over a long period of time and I do not have room to plant them in the garden with the slim hope that they might come back next year. Mums do bloom at different times just like Daylilies so you can plan succession blooming.  It is not an easy plan as most nurseries do not designate on their tags which are early, mid-season, late or extenders.  This can be researched on the Internet. Asters in containers look great and then fizzle out before their time.

I have found that perennial sedums (like Vera Jameson used as a spiller), annual rudbeckias, grasses, cabbages, Bright Lights Kale, Cordyline, Dracenas and Pansies are long lived in fall planters.  Plug in a few small mums if you can't do without them and then you won't feel so bad pulling them when they are done.

Fall is the shortest time frame for containers so think ahead what you can use in your containers that are perennials and can be moved into your garden before a hard freeze.  I even saw phlox in a fall container at one of the nurseries.


Jennifer@threedogsinagarden said...

Hi Eileen,
I am honestly embarrassed by my container plantings this year. I was short on money early in the spring, but I am not sure even that is a good excuse. Next year I must do better.
I always admire your planters. Of all the blogs I visit, your containers plantings are the best. You say they are looking a bit tired after a long, hot summer, but they looked great to me, even before you added the cabbages.

Lona said...

This has been an awful year here for my planters. I got fed up Tuesday and started pulling plants out of them.They were such an embarrassing mess. I want to get some Pansies and I am considering the cabbages since yours always look so pretty.The planters you pictured today are just fantastic looking.

Beth said...

Hi Eileen, You are inspiring me to re-do some things in the garden and my containers for fall. One of my containers still looks good, others have gotten leggy, etc. You showed some good ideas. I do like the sweet potato vine. I understand you can actually eat the tuber when you pull it...but I won't be doing that! Great post, Eileen!

Zoey said...

Geez, Eileen, I thought those containers still looked great. It would have been hard for me to pull anything out to replant!

Then I saw that huge cabbage and WOW it was spectacular in the container!

I see you have Sedona with the Cordyline, just like I do. Don’t you love that combination…I know I do.

After work today I was watering on the deck and I thought how my hackracks don’t look nearly as nice as yours. I really did! I can still see the container on mine. Nothing has spilled over as nicely as I wanted. I did plant them pretty late, but still…………………...

Have you ever considered going into the container garden designing business? I bet there are a lot of people in the Chicago area who would pay to have you do beautiful container gardens for them.

scottweberpdx said...

I love how you keep your containers going during fall...I really, really need to get a few containers next year...I always regret not doing any!

Gatsbys Gardens said...

Thanks so much Jennifer,
I really do like container planting but then later on they are really a lot of work with watering and trimming and fertilizing. But somehow in the spring I just can't help myself. I showed my really good ones, a few I gave up on and called them experiments.


Gatsbys Gardens said...


I know how you feel, it happens so suddenly that they just look terrible and I yank! When you think of it fall is really so short to plant anything but the cabbages last until December and the pansies also.


Gatsbys Gardens said...

Hi Beth,

I have pulled out those tubers, not willing to chance a taste. I am doing lots of cabbages this year because they last so long. Do you think they will survive our 96 degree temps tomorrow?


Gatsbys Gardens said...


I was having such a difficult time keeping everything watered because the root balls in the containers were so large, it was time for a change.


Gatsbys Gardens said...


I love your garden not sure you need containers unless you had some large ones in certain strategic spots in your garden.


Millie said...

I like your use of the ornamental cabbages. THis year I planted them in the garden so I'll have to cut them for use in pots...temporary, but still pretty, and they last quite a while.

Gatsbys Gardens said...

Hi Millie,

I am sure your cabbages look great. I have never heard of them lasting in containers without the root system being intact. I am always open to learn something new.


Grace said...

Beautiful cabbages. I don't do much for fall but I am getting inspired by your post!

Darla said...

Your containers are lovely. Thanks for the reminder to get cabbages! I missed out last year.

Karen said...

Eileen, I would have had a very hard time yanking out the beautiful plantings you had for summer, but I can see your wisdom for the fall display. I really should look into cabbages; I tried growing some from seed one year, but it didn't work out as well as I'd have liked. Yours are just stunning. Fall at your house will be just as beautiful as the height of summer!

Gatsbys Gardens said...

Hi Grace,

It's hard to do fall because the time is so short before the holidays. The cabbages will last even through the snow, can't believe I said that word.


Gatsbys Gardens said...

Hi Karen,

I grew cabbagees one year also and the slugs had a field day. I never grew them again, they take up a lot of room.


Tatyana@MySecretGarden said...

Love your planters Eileen! Verbena is gorgeous! Cabbages are very ornamental. Love them! I tried them some time ago in containers, but they all got rotten in our wet winter climate.
P.S. Eileen, thank you so much for your comments on my blog!

Tootsie said...

man are your gardens looking gorgeous or what!!!!
I thank you so much for linking in this week. It is an honor to host Friday's Flaunt and meet new friends and visit the regulars (who are like old friends) who share. I am always excited to tour each post and see the different flowers/ projects and garden art that everyone flaunts. It is a pleasure to tour and see all the gorgeous blooms...and I appreciate each and every link and comment! I hope you will link in again soon!
¸.•´¸.•*¨) ¸.•*¨)
(¸.•´ (¸.•´ .•´ ¸¸.•¨¯`•.

garden girl said...

I love the color, texture, and hardiness of ornamental cabbage and kale, although I never seem to get around to planting any.

Fortunately our containers still look really pretty and usually do well into the fall. With all the shade here they really hold up well, and usually outlast the first few frosts since the trees create such a nice microclimate.

Patrick's Garden said...

Hey Gatsby,
I'm a HUGE fan of Ornamental Cabbage. The only draw back is they can be so expensive this time of year. It's appropriate you're a teacher because this posting is a great lesson for those with tired containers not interested in just mums.
A tip for mum lovers who are looking for perennial mums, try the single flowered 'Sheffield Pink'. Buy in Spring from Bluestone Perennials and do your own pinching for a wonderful returning experience. Check locally to see when to stop pinching for peak bloom.
Loved your post and now you have a new big fan. Keep up the good work.

Gatsbys Gardens said...

Hi Tatyana,

The cabbages do not live through the winter here but do last until December and than get mushy. I do like some mums but they do not bloom very long in zone 5.


Gatsbys Gardens said...

Hi GG,

Some of my containers look better than others, but most are pretty rrot bound, can't even dig the plants out.


Aerie-el said...

I admire anyone who creates such artistic combinations in containers, and yours look amazing. Love that bronze potato vine, and your use of the cabbages is inspiring. Thanks for the ideas~I may branch out and expand my container plantings yet.

Kimberley said...

I came to your site by way of Fishtail Cottage.

I love all of your containers and the groupings you used.

I wanted to plant some ornamental cabbages in containers up on my porch. Unfortunately, some intrepid creature could not resist the enticing aroma and climbed up the steps to eat the one cabbage I bought down to its base! I was glad I had bought only one that day!

I'll be back to visit often!

Pat@Back Porch Musings said...

Gorgeous signs of Autumn, Eileen!