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Transition Time For Gardeners

(credit: Phran Novelli)

(credit: Phran Novelli)

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By Phran Novelli

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - When I went into the mall, the garden beds beside the doors were bursting with bright red coleus. I took a picture because I was so impressed at how these annuals, planted for summer, now filled the beds with such stunning autumn color, and were still so healthy and thriving.

When I came out an hour later, the beds were bare and all that fall color was headed down the street – coleus plants piled high in the back of an open truck screaming with scarlet and looking like they’d been kidnapped.

They were on their way to the trash heap or, we can only hope, a giant compost pile, and as I left the parking lot, I realized why. Crews were refilling empty beds with endless rafts of happy pansies.

The pansies will last through the winter and still be there blooming in spring; the coleus would have shriveled at the first frost. It had to be done. But it’s pretty hard for most home gardeners to go into a bed of perfectly-performing plants, and yank them out just because the calendar says it’s time for a change.