Fall is the perfect time for gardening because you don't have to worry about summer heat or winter frost.


Where to start?


1. Clean up from several months of scorching temperatures. Pull up any plants that didn't make it through the blazing weather.


2. Start planting! With help from the N.C. Botanical Garden in Chapel Hill, here's a go-to guide for what's best to pop in the ground in autumn.


These flowers are your trusty fall friends that will return in the spring – even after a wintry mix or two. The biennials come in hearty shades, such as violet, gold and white.


While these beauties may not live the longest, they provide a burst of color for the pot on your front porch. Mums dislike playing footsie with water, so make sure to plant them in full sun.


Shrubs and trees
Go big with a new deciduous or evergreen tree and foliage. Be careful not to plant any exotic species, such as bamboo grass, that could disrupt our region's natural ecosystem.


Leafy greens
Chard, watercress, spinach, lettuce and ornamental cabbage add greenery to a backyard burdened with brown. Bonus: This vegetation can be picked to create salads ripe for the plate.


3. Prep for spring by planting bulbs. You'll give them plenty of time to get settled before winter bustles into the Triangle.