The possibilities of fall gardening and decorating are now under way; the colors of autumn so iconic to the outside of homes as the weather cools down after summer beckon easily for the eyes at Wolff’s Apple House.
Bloom-boasting hardy mums, asters, Montauk daisies, brightly cheerful pansies, cabbage, kale, hay bales, decorative corn stalks, gourds and eye-stirring arrays of Indian corn are now in stock.
Traditional orange as well as curiously hued and shaped heirloom pumpkins are all making homes for themselves at Wolff’s, too, until you scoop them up so they can start another autumn life at your own home.
“We have a HUGE selection of mums!” beams Linda Johnson, garden center manager for Wolff’s. “At peak season in late September and early October, we have 50+ varieties of mums in all shapes, sizes and colors, and these varieties span the rainbow—from yellow, orange, bronze, red, maroon, pink, purple, lavender, white, and more! Some are even bicolor with two colors on each blossom.”
A few varieties range from cute tight little pom-pom shapes the size of a ping-pong ball to bigger, broader blossoms that look reminiscent of daisies and zinnias, she explains.
Most mums grow in a nine-inch pot; some are raised in hanging baskets, but the mammoth of them all is a jumbo mum that spans a ball of blooms around three feet across.
Hardy asters range in angelic hues of white to light pink, dark pink, purple and lavender.
And then the greenish white to greenish purple persuasion of cabbage and feathery, wispy kale summon autumn and winter color strengths for outside of homes as the weather gets chillier.
“The great thing about cabbage and kale is that they are very hardy and can take the worst that winter in the Delaware Valley can throw at them,” Johnson says. “They can handle freezing cold temperatures as well as snow, sleet and ice. They really are the best option for having color in your garden through the coldest, snowiest part of winter.”
Johnson also notes that cabbage and kale accent window boxes and planters swimmingly, as they brighten up the front of a house, porch or back patio as autumn and winter make their introductions. The four-and-a-half-inch pots of cabbage and kale suit well for this decorative approach.
And it’s nice to know that all of these plants are grown locally in Southeastern Pennsylvania and in our neighboring Garden State of New Jersey.
“There is a certain briskness to fall that spring, summer and winter just don’t have,” Fran Wolff reflects of autumn’s prominent lure on the senses. “I think this makes people alive and active. To me, it seems we all still (even though in today’s world we don’t particularly need to) embrace the idea of the fall harvest. And I think, like most creatures, we instinctively prepare for the inevitability of the leaner times of winter. So fall becomes this wonderful time where we seem drawn out of our homes and want to take part in this collective preparation; I feel that is one of the main reasons why we love decorating outside in the fall.”
Comforts through colors and scents are a lot of what strike those who visit Wolff’s each autumn as they make their way through the door.
“The store is abounding with a beautiful palette of fall colors, and customers always comment on how beautiful the store is in the fall,” Wolff says.
His response is always the same: “Nature gives us the most beautiful palette to work with.”
Fall is known well for its delightfully delicious smells, too, remember.
“Around our market, autumn is alive with wonderful aromas! There is of course the unmistakable scent of apples wafting through the store,” Wolff points out. “Also abounding is the smell of fresh-baked doughnuts and pies, fresh-brewed organic coffee, sweet cold cider, hot mulled cider, and soon our fresh hot soups will add to the menagerie from our in-house chef, Chuck Smith, with such seasonal favorites as sweet potato soup, pumpkin chipotle, local broccoli cheddar, and local mushroom soup. These, paired with the overall smell of the farm—cornstalks, straw and more make the intoxicating smell of autumn complete!”