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Late-Summer Annual Foliage Color

By: Mike Darcy

Rosie Sweet Potato and Coleus - Mike Darcy
Here it is, mid-September and in the Pacific Northwest, and the weather has been warm with little or no rain. This is the time to visit gardens and observe what is performing well at this time of year. Take notes so you will remember next spring what will eventually make for great late-summer annual foliage color.

At a recent garden I visited, there was a bank of sweet potato vines (both chartreuse and black) and they had completely covered the soil. The sweet potato vines in the photo were planted with several different coleus with leaf colors of chartreuse and dark burgundy. What a stunning combination this made. Soil on a slope like this in a sunny location can dry out quickly with hot weather and winds. An excellent soil amendment to add at planting time is Black Gold Just Coir. This is actually coconut coir pith and has very good water hold retention to keep plants from drying out on hot sunny and windy days. It is both a natural and organic soil amendment.

About Mike Darcy


Mike lives and gardens in a suburb of Portland, Oregon where he has resided since 1969. He grew in up Tucson, Arizona where he worked at a small retail nursery during his high school and college years. He received his formal education at the University of Arizona where he was awarded a Bachelor of Science Degree in Horticulture, and though he values his formal education, he values his field-experience more. It is hard to beat the ‘hands on’ experience of actually gardening, visiting gardens, and sharing information with other gardeners. Mike has been involved with gardening communications throughout his adult life. In addition to garden writing, he has done television gardening shows in Portland, and for over 30 years he hosted a Saturday radio talk show in Portland. Now he writes, speaks, gardens and continues to share his love of gardening. To be connected to the gardening industry is a bonus in life for Mike. He has found gardeners to be among the friendliest and most caring, generous people. Consequently, many of his friends he has met through gardening.

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