Lengthening shadows, back to school shopping, and chrysanthemums at Knecht’s are sure signs that summer is winding its way toward fall! The hanging baskets and planters that brightened our decks, porches and patios this year will begin to loose their summer substance. Perennial beds and borders that lack late season interest will become particularly obvious after observing them at their peak in June, July and August. Ornamental grasses, heuchera and heucherella are favored for their lovely foliage and texture all through autumn. Asters, sedums, turtlehead, and decorative and hardy mums are loaded with swollen buds about to burst into a new season of color! It’s worth mentioning the difference between decorative and hardy mums. If you’re filling containers, baskets and raise beds, decorative mums will easily become the highlight of your fall display. But, decorative mums won’t overwinter reliably here in Minnesota. Minnesota hardy mums, on the other hand, are also beautiful in containers, planters and baskets but will not overwinter there. For Minnesota hardy mums to overwinter, you need to plant them in the ground and mulch them in well before winter frost sends them into dormancy. Mums are working really hard this time of year, and will require regular and thorough watering. Keep flower buds and blossoms healthy and longer lasting by watering mums at their base. Oh, and by the way, back to school shopping is in full swing, the shadows are growing longer by the day, and the benches are full of beautiful mums at Knecht’s!