As the season gets chilly there are often planters left over from the summer season. I sometimes cut the annuals off flush to the surface of the soil to keep it a solid mass of roots.
This full pot of roots becomes my base for an outdoor fall arrangement. As I do my fall cleanup I look around for grass plumes or berry covered bushes, a few cedar branches, evergreen cuttings, some cool peeling bark and cut myself some ingredients to build a few planters for the next few months.
I would normally plan to spruce them up for the Christmas season and enjoy them until the new year. This is a fun way to practice your flower arranging skills. If the weather starts to freeze you can add water to freeze your stems in place.
Another idea is to hit your garden centre early and stock up on some cold-loving plants to build arrangements. I love the fall pansies, flowering kale, violas, perennial grasses in pots, fall asters and any nice-looking perennial plants that may have a bit of colour on them. These plants can be planted in mixed arrangements in new pots or in the pots left over after your annuals are done.
Try using dried plant parts like seed heads or pine cones with branches covered in lichens or peeling bark as a natural arrangement. These arrangements can be brightened up with a single Pansy or a 4inch perennial in each one as a focal point.
If you are very energetic you can build a multi-season display pot by starting with an outdoor planter pot that is about 16 inches wide at the bottom and about 20 inches tall. Put about 3 inches of potting soil in the bottom then place about 6 King Alfred Daffodils in the pot. Install soil to cover them. Then put in 6 large late tulips your choice of colour, cover with soil, then put 7-8 early tulips in and cover with soil, then put 7-10 species tulips in and cover them, Then put in 6 Hyacinth bulbs in and cover, top it off with Crocus and Muscari and if all goes well you may have a few inches of soil to plants your fall colour arrangement of 4 inch flowering kale and pansies and or asters.
This will look great until winter gets bad. Then move the planters where they can get some protection from severe weather (in an unheated garage?).
Leave until spring and move outside once the worst of winter is over and you will start to get blooms by April if its in a sunny spot.
This arrangement of bulbs will give colour for at least 5 weeks or so depending on temperature. The hotter it gets the faster they bloom out. In the past after the bulbs are done I have topped up the soil and added annuals on top and repeated the fall planting and enjoyed the bulbs again for the second year. After that they were done so I planted the bulbs in the garden and many lived on from there.
There are many great garden ideas that you can do as the temperatures cool off this fall that can give you months of colour. Start experimenting today!