Ornamental grasses, a staple of fall gardens, add movement (they sway with even a slight breeze), as well as height, texture and changing color. Hardy pampas grass with its white feathery plumes, dwarf fountain grass and Miscanthus 'Morning Light' are possibilities that do well around here. Get advice from nursery and garden center experts about the plants that are right for your particular soil and light conditions.
Who knows? You may get so excited about planning and planting your late-season garden for next year that you forget all about planting next spring's flowering bulbs.
A climax of color
As subtle and beautiful as the interplay of textures and foliage can be in an autumn garden, sometimes we crave a riot of color as a hedge against winter. We asked Wendy Heilman, the "annual lady" at Simond's Nursery in Reisterstown, to give us some suggestions for colorful annuals you can plant now.
Here were her favorites:
* Nemesia. A new annual with fragrant purple and white flowers. They look a little like tiny snapdragons.
* Lantana. Hummingbirds and butterflies love its flowers. It has a shrubby appearance, with blooms in yellow, orange and "confetti" -- a mix of colors.
* Alyssum. It's almost a ground cover, with a tiny, fragrant white flower.
* And, of course, chrysanthemums, pansies, violas and ornamental cabbage and kale. The reason these are so popular is that they are easy to grow and add spectacular color to end-of-season gardens.