Tips for creating a spooky garden.
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October is the time for changes in leaf color and plantings of mums and pansies. Yet it's also the time for spooky critters and chilly nights. This year put your entryway and landscape in the mood for Halloween with festively named plants, creepy flowers and in-the-spirit accents. So throw out the horror movies, grab a bowl of popcorn, curl up on your garden bench and enjoy the fun.
Add a spine-chilling element to the October landscape with a carefully placed gargoyle or similar piece of garden art (figure A). Tuck them in a niche or around a corner to heighten visitors' surprise.
The oddly intriguing plant parts of carnivorous plants lure unsuspecting insects. Try pitcher plant (Sarracenia, USDA Zones 6 to 8) and Venus flytrap [Dionaea muscipula, USDA Zones (6)7 to 9]. Note: Pitcher plant blooms are great for use in creepy dried floral arrangements indoors.
Plants that have scary-sounding names and unusual-looking growth habits can also delight unsuspecting garden visitors. Take bat plant (Tacca chantrieri, USDA Zones 10 to 11, houseplant) (figure B) for example: It has ornate, dark purple flowers that resemble frightening bats. (Note: Bat plant may not be in bloom in October.)
On the flipside, bat-face cuphea (Cuphea llavea 'Bat Face,' USDA Zones 9b to 10, typically used as an annual) (figure C) has tiny, red and purple blooms that look like comical flying bats.
Here are a few more to try this season:
Nothing adds suspense or danger quite like black plants. Although these plants don't have true black foliage and flowers (they're actually deep purple or dark brown), use them to add a touch of the macabre to your yard. Plant them in an unusual container like a hollowed pumpkin or faux coffin or combine with orange- or yellow-colored plants to create an electrifying effect.
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