As the days get shorter, the nights start to chill, and that summer sun that was cooking us all season, gives us a much needed break. My thoughts turn to what is happening in the lawn and garden.
Patio pots are starting to lose their pizzazz; those once colorful gems are spent and faded. Vegetable plants have rewarded us with a bountiful harvest, and trees and shrubs are preparing for a long winter’s nap. It’s is one of my favorite times of the year, and not just because it’s football season. Fall gardening isn’t just about planting bulbs, it can be the most active time of the year in the garden.
Preparing for the winter can be vital to your landscape. Cleaning, pruning, mulching and feeding the lawn with winterizer, is essential. The rose bushes need collars to prevent winter kill and protect their graft union. Wrap young or tender trees to prevent winter sun scald. Use dormant oil spray to prevent over-wintering insects and their eggs. Prune out old and weak wood on shrubs to prevent winter breakage. These few chores will ensure your valued landscape is healthy come next spring. Now for the fun stuff…
Fall plants are the great abundance this time of year. My favorites for the landscape and even your window boxes and pots are pansies, violas, fall mums, asters, Rudbeckias, and ornamental kale, cabbage and peppers. Planting now will give months of enjoyment. Refresh and extend your summer pots with autumn beauties. Watering is important, making sure to give moisture on cool nights and drying fall winds. Dead head the plants (pinch and remove dead blooms) to encourage more blossoms and prolong the show.
Another favorite fall activity, and most rewarding for me, is planting bulbs. The tulips, crocus, daffodils, Iris and hyacinth planted now, will excite you next spring after their long winter’s slumber. Plant them in groups, use some blood and bone meal, water thoroughly, add some pansies over them with some mulch and next year you’ll be amazed. Use garden gloves when handling bulbs and amend the soil with some good peat moss or potting mix. Water bulb area when dry and no snow or moisture is available. Get info from your local garden guru on planting in your area.
The time is now, or at halftime, to get out there and spruce up that landscape, prepare for winter, and plant some incredible plants and bulbs. Your reward next spring will be more than worth the effort now.
Tell me, what are your favorite fall gardening experiences?