Greetings Friends!

Mum's the word in this month's The Leaf in Brief. Carrie Hennessy provides you with advice for avoiding an annual mum hassle.

The plant of the month is Anemone Spp., so we have loads of information and interesting lore about Anemones. This month's video is Seasonal Needle Drop, the newest episode of Carrie's Quick Tips, which explains the annual shedding of inner needles of evergreens.

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MUM'S THE WORD by Carrie Hennessy, Horticulturist/Landscape DesignerFA

When the morning temperatures turn chilly and the air smells of dried leaves, I get the overwhelming urge to buy chrysanthemums. The summer annuals on the porch are running out of steam and being threatened by the first frosts anyway. Luckily, garden centers, like Johnson's Gardens in Cedarburg, are filled with the jewel tones of fall garden mums. They are plentiful, relatively inexpensive, and available in glorious shades of autumn.


When feverishly loading them into your shopping cart, choose ones that still have plenty of tight buds to extend the blooming period in your yard. If I'm feeling lazy, I just plop an extra-large container of mums, straight off the shelf, into my landscape beds, no shovel needed. However, the labeling of "Hardy Mums" can be misleading. These Chrysanthemums have spent the entire summer in a greenhouse, their tips being pinched back to create a bushy appearance. If you plant them early enough in fall they might have enough time to root before the ground freezes and survive the winter; unless we have a really cold winter and/or not enough snow cover. Then you'll surely be buying more next year. Even if they do survive, you'll need to keep pinching and pruning the buds until July to keep them looking tidy.


If you want to avoid this hamster wheel of fall color hassle, consider planting perennial, winter hardy chrysanthemums in the landscape beds instead. Johnson's Nursery carries the Mammoth® Series (Chrysanthemum x hybrida), introduced by the University of Minnesota. Like most plants coming out of Minnesota, they are very cold tolerant and have a much better chance of surviving winter than their less expensive counterparts. Even better, they have been bred so you don't have to pinch them back during the summer for a bushy appearance. Nestle a pumpkin next to your chrysanthemums for the perfect harvest time landscape.

Annual "Hardy" Mums

Chrysanthemum x hyb. 'Coral' PP14,129
(perennial variety)

Chrysanthemum x hyb. 'Dark Bronze'
(perennial variety)
Anemone japonica 'September Charm'
Mature Height: 3'   Mature Spread: 3'
Exposure: Full sun to partial shade, Zone 4
Prefers moist, well-drained soil

"Knock Knock"
"Who's there?" 
"Anemone who?" 
"Who needs an enemy with
friends like these?"


Anemone Spp.


Alright, alright...say it with me "UH-nem-UH-nee". Anemone! Also known as Windflowers, these beauties add a delicate grace to the fall garden. Johnson's Nursery carries three fall blooming varieties:
  • White = Honorine Jobert
  • Anemone 'Honorine Jobert'

    (pictured bottom left)

  • Rose Pink = September Charm
  • Anemone japonica 'September Charm'

    (pictured upper left)

  • Pale Pink = Grape Leaf Anemone
  • Anemone vitifolia 'Robustissima'

    (pictured bottom right)

Plan for any of these varieties to get at least 3 feet tall, and give them room to spread. For a mixed perennial border, try planting tall, airy Shenandoah Switch Grass (Panicum virgatum 'Shenandoah') in the back, Anemones in the middle, and long-blooming Montrose White Calamint (Calamintha nepeta 'Montrose White') in the front. The pollinators won't be able to resist this combination!


Anemone 'Honorine Jobert'
Anemone vitifolia 'Robustissima'
Note: Grape Leaf Anemone can handle a drier location. 
Aphrodite's Hunky Mortal Lover

Not all Anemones bloom in fall. Wisconsin's native Thimbleweed (Anemone virginiana) blooms in spring, but the thimble-shaped centers will last into winter. Wood Anemone (Anemone nemerosa) is also a cheery harbinger of spring, the white flowers scattered along the forest floor. When it rains, the fairies are said to hide inside the flowers that snap shut.

The most well-known myth of the Anemone involves Aphrodite and her hunky mortal lover, Adonis. Their favorite past-time was hunting together, he running ahead of her in the forest, she gliding along in her swan-drawn chariot behind him-no doubt admiring his assets. Until one day when either a wild boar or another jealous deity (depends on which version you're reading...maybe it was a jealous boar) impaled Adonis when Aphrodite wasn't looking. Too late, she came upon him bleeding to death and she carried her doomed lover away, his blood and her tears falling to the ground, and Anemones springing up as a reminder.
Anemone virginiana 
 Aphrodite & Adonis 
Hey Sugar!

The Queen of Wisconsin, the Sugar Maple (Acer saccharum), is displaying her crown of jewel-colored foliage in October. Forget smelling roses, the beauty of the Sugar Maple is truly breathtaking and will stop the busiest person in their tracks, if for just a moment. This display of color never seems to last long enough. Luckily, our harvest manager, Aaron Jambura, still has a supply of locally tapped maple syrup for sale in the Johnson's Nursery Contractor Sales offices at the Menomonee Falls location. For $10, the essence of the Sugar Maple has been bottled for you to enjoy on your favorite starchy breakfast item. Or get a little crazy and add a couple tablespoons of Maple Syrup while mixing up frosting for pumpkin cupcakes. Sprinkle with crumbled bacon for an over the top fall treat.

Aaron wrote a feature article for the Leaf in Brief in March 2014, which outlined his process of tapping Maple trees and how to prepare the sap you've collected. You can read his article from the Leaf in Brief newsletter archive.

Sugar Maple, Acer Saccharum


from Carrie's Quick Tips, by Carrie Hennessy
Duration 0:52

The cooler temperatures of autumn are approaching and while humans are putting on extra layers of clothes, evergreens are shedding their old needles. This annual occurrence is called "Seasonal Needle Drop" and is completely normal. Watch more.

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1. Pruning
Do NOT prune your newly planted herbaceous perennials this fall. Leave the tops on for this first winter for additional crown protection and maximum root development. Beginning next fall you can establish a normal fall cleanup. Check out our pruning guide (or come talk to a horticulturist) about pruning shrubs and established perennials.

2. Frost Blankets 

Extend your fall harvest with frost blankets. Cover your remaining vegetable crops in the evening whenever a hard frost is predicted. Remember to uncover during daylight hours.

3. Watering 
Water thoroughly until the ground freezes hard. Especially conifers (no matter their age) and anything newly planted this year. 



4. Turf and Lawn Care 

Gradually lower the deck on your lawn mower so that the height of your turf (ideally 4"+ in summer) is down to 2"-3" by the first snowfall. Be careful. You only want to take 30% off at each mowing-assuming 48 hours between mows. The lower turf height will reduce chances for snow mold and excessive vole damage come spring.


5. Compost
DO NOT throw those leaves away! Compost them. They are black gold. The smaller the pieces the more quickly they'll break down so...use a chipper or run over them multiple times with a lawnmower. Stack them at least 36" high-wetting well every 12"-and they'll decompose over time for a first rate soil amendment. Another use is to cover vegetable beds 2"-4" deep before the first hard freeze to encourage worms and beneficial microbial soil activity. Turn them under in the spring.


Landscape Plastics Recycling

October 18th -- 8am-12:00pm -- Johnson's Nursery 


The recent landscape plastics events were a great success. Hundreds of home gardeners and landscape contractors showed up with trailers, trunks, and beds filled with plastic plant containers and plant trays. We ask you to continue save them for October! 


Visit Johnson's Nursery for more details. 

Visit the archive to read previous issues of The Leaf in Brief

Johnson's Nursery, Inc.
Nature's Best to You.®
p. 262-252-4988  e.