Autumn Gardening Tips

“Just before the death of flowers,
And before they are buried in snow,
There comes a festival season
When nature is all aglow.”
-Author Unknown

A Garden Is An Ever Changing Tapestry Of Natural Beauty
If you haven’t started that garden journal, go out and buy one today. It helps assess your landscape by listing your ideas for changes and additions. It also helps to decide what you most want to do right now and in the seasons to come. While still in the garden mode, make notes for things to do or buy next spring. Write down the names of that wonderful annual combination you had this year or remind yourself what did not seem to work well in that one corner. Throw in some pictures too!

Roots Establish Better In Fall
Fall is a great planting time and gives you a jumpstart on next year’s garden! Just don’t forget to pay attention to the water needs of those new additions. Without adequate snow or rain you will need to occasionally water new plantings in the winter. A warm winter (such as last year) will intensify this need.

Plant. Transplant. Divide.
Early blooming perennials like irises and peonies can be transplanted. Be careful not to replant too deeply or they will not flower. Divide daylilies if they are in need of thinning – this can improve flowering for next year.

Dig Up & Store Your Bulbs
After the first frost, dig up your tender bulbs and tubers (gladiolas, dahlias, cannas, etc…) and put them in a dry and cool spot (around 40 degrees) for the winter in an open, airy, shallow box.

Clean Your Beds
Continue weeding, deadheading and cutting back perennials as needed. Remove diseased leaves and spent plant material from the beds which will reduce possibility of disease and harmful insects overwintering in this material. Add some compost to your beds as you clean them, before you mulch for the winter.

Snip & Pinch!
Notice which perennials need staking so that you can be pro-active with this chore next year, or opt to try spring “pinching” to shorten their ultimate height – many, but not all perennials respond well to this. This method also delays flowering a bit, which can be a plus in your garden. (ex: Shasta daisy, Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’, Summer phlox, Bee balm). Try this method selectively, on the front row of flowers for a graduation of flowering heights. Add this info to your journal as a reminder for next spring!

Stop Your Clippers!
Pruning of your roses and subshrubs (such as lavender) should stop now. Pruning can encourage new growth that will be subject to frost. Wait until March to prune, before new growth begins (climbing/rambling roses are an exception).

Ready For A Treat? I Promise. No Tricks.
Give yourself a treat for next spring, buy some spring flowering bulbs now (but wait until the weather cools down in October before planting). If you plant them among your hostas or daylilies, the declining foliage of the daffodil or tulip will be hidden by the newly emerging perennial leaves next spring!

Garden Looking Tired? Add Some Color
Don’t forget to add some fall color to your yard (can replace any tired looking annuals). Mums, ornamental cabbage and grasses all do the trick quite nicely! (along with a few well-placed pumpkins of course!!) Pansies give you the added bonus of returning early next spring in full color!

Fertilize Your Garden
Fertilize shrubs and trees with the appropriate product, such as Hollytone for your acid-loving evergreens.
Grass seeding should be finished by now, but do continue to fertilize.

Move ‘Em On In
If you haven’t already done so, begin the transition of your houseplants to indoors by bringing them in at nighttime only at first. First clean and prune them and don’t forget to check for insects! Stop/reduce fertilizing of these plants until late winter.

A Quick “Snip” Tip
Cuttings from coleus will root easily and can be brought indoors for winter color in your home, and can then be returned to your garden next spring.

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