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Plant of the Week: Matrix Pansies

What flower has a face, is edible, blooms in both spring & fall and comes in the widest range of colors of any garden annual? If you guest pansies, you are right. Yes, October = pansies here in Hampton Roads! These beloved blooms are one of the best ways to add color to your landscape during those six months of cool weather, from October through March. These vibrant, colorful flowers come in all the shades of the rainbow and then some including red, purple, blue, bronze, pink, black, yellow, white, lavender, orange, apricot and mahogany. Pansies are easy to grow, are hardy, provide a burst of color and can be used in a variety of ways - in beds, borders, rock gardens and containers. Here are a few of the newer selections from our popular Matrix Series that offer superb flower power with a compact, well-branched, and uniform habit:

Pansy Matrix Coastal Sunrise - new on the seen in 2014, this selection features an abundance of large flowers that will put on an unmatched color display for all to see. Coastal Sunrise is a mixture of deep rose, pink and purple blooms, with a no-stretch habit that keeps them looking good all summer and throughout the cool season. Add in the landscape or in pots for a pop of color for months to come. Coastal Sunrise grows 6-8 inches tall with an equal spread and prefers partial to full sun.

Pansy Matrix Ocean Breeze – another knock-out from the Matrix Series, Ocean Breeze boasts all the colors of the sea – ocean blues, whites, violets and deep dark purples. Blooms appear in fall and continue on into winter making them ideal planted up in containers, window boxes or in the landscape. Ocean Breeze grows 6-8 inches tall with an equal spread and prefers sun or partial sun for best flowering.

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Plant of the Week: Autumn Embers Encore Azaleas

Get fired up this fall with Autumn Embers Encore azaleas! Well known for being hardy and low-maintenance, these reblooming azaleas add vivid, multi-seasonal color unlike any other azalea. This dense, rounded shrub features an abundance of semi-double, fiery, orange-red flowers that are produced in spring and fall and sporadically throughout the summer. Autumn Embers reaches a height of three feet by three and half feet wide and is ideal planted in garden beds and borders, foundation plantings, large containers or as a focal point in the garden. Azaleas prefer partial sun to partial shade, although Encore azaleas will tolerate more sun than most other varieties. So, color your landscape with the colors of fall with Autumn Embers.

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Perfect Fall Companions

As nights become cooler and days get shorter, it’s time to get your fall garden off and running. We love pairing mums with companion plants for a truly unique fall garden. Try some of these out-of-the-box plants along with those beautiful mums we all know and love -- and sit back and enjoy a beautiful view this fall.

Sedum - Attractive, clumping perennial that displays large, plate-like flower clusters that start pink then turn to a rosy russet. It's succulent, solid-looking leaves give it a substantial presence in the garden. A fine addition to the rock garden or mixed border, where its flower heads will remain attractive well into autumn.

Ornamental Peppers - Ornamental peppers are a great addition to the fall garden. With foliage of all shades, the real shining star of ornamental peppers is the fruit it bears in bright colors of fall in many shapes and sizes. We especially love using ornamental peppers in container combos!

Encore Azaleas - Another wonderful shrub for the fall landscape. If you love the colorful flowers that an azalea shrub offers, then you'll love our Encore varieties. They bloom three times per year ~ summer, spring, and fall, yes, even fall!

Heuchera - These perennial plants are one of our favorites for all seasons, including fall. From woodlands and rock gardens to containers, borders, and groundcovers, Heucheras make quite the statement.The stunning foliage of these fast-growing, deer- and pest-resistant perennials is so multi-colored they’ll stand out in any crowd. A wide selection of varieties is available with large, heart-shaped or rounded leaves, the striking colors and variegation patterns.

Autumn Sage (Salvia) - Add these stunning perennials with spikes of purple or red tubular blooms to your landscape. Enjoy them from spring through fall! They prefer full to part sunny spots.

Plectranthus - A quick-growing annual that grows 24 to 30 inches tall and does well in either shady or partially sunny locations. Those grown in sun are more compact and the purple color on the undersides of the leaves is much more intense. Spikes of dark lavender flowers bloom from spring until fall.

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