Colorful fall leaves bring enjoyment, only to be followed by bare-branched soberness. For those wanting to reintroduce life to the landscape, evergreen trees are not the only solution. Flowers that defy autumn's wind down do exist, and choices aren't limited to the reliable asters and mums that become ubiquitous at grocery stores come September (though those are good choices). Look especially to bulbs for November color and keep in mind that flowers in season during November in one area and climate might not be in season everywhere. Ask advice from local county extension agents.
Those that rely on crocuses to break the winter gloom can rely on them to liven up the darkening days of fall. If you plant corms of different varieties in late August or early September, you can have purple flowers throughout fall. Those blooming in November include Crocus speciousus and Crocus goulinyi.
Though individual varieties might have particular needs, in general, fall-blooming crocuses like partial shade. You can plant them about 4 inches deep and space them about the same distance apart. This effort will last you for a long time, since crocuses self-multiply.
To some, pansy refers to something--or someone--wimpy. But pansies, like other members of the viola family, are remarkably sturdy. Purple and yellow are common pansy colors and they are very vivid and lush, but you can find other colors as well, including white and magenta. Flowers are about 2 to 3 inches across and the petals are edible.
Another member of the viola family gets high marks for growing during the cool season--indeed, it is the 2010 All-America cool-season selection. Endurio Sky Blue Martien produces blue flowers, rare among blooming plants, and these small 1-inch blossoms are abundant. If planted in the fall, Martien will bloom from October through April. You can extend the season of blooms by planting additional violas in early spring.
It's not a very appealing name, toad lily, but this perennial produces flowers that look somewhat like an orchid. The flowers are small, but the plant produces them in clusters. They're pale, with colorful dots of red to pink to purple. Because the flowers are small and pale, they are best seen close up.
The plant blossoms until the frost, so the flower produces November blooms in milder climates. Plant in partial shade.
The cyclamen has become familiar in stores, and is often purchased as an indoor bloomer when the weather gets cool. It does make an attractive gift, with pretty heart-shaped leaves, stems thrusting up from the middle, these crowned with flowers.
Cyclamens can, however, be grown outdoors, where the environment could really use some color. Give them room, putting corms in about 2 inches deep with about a foot of space between them.