Last week’s snow was a cruel joke and an abrupt reminder that summer is definitely over. It’s time to prepare and protect the garden for the windy and cold winter months ahead.
I wish I had thought ahead this summer and planned to do up my front planters to look as inviting as these fall displays.
Assuming it’s not snowing and blowing, Fall is a lovely time to garden. I’m not a fan of the burning sun and unbearable summer heat. More to my liking is the cool, crisp autumn mornings and warm, sunny afternoons…the bonus days of the gardening season.
As I mentioned in an earlier post, I have created a high maintenance garden. This fall I want to take the time (weather permitting) to get everything in order…to create a blank canvas so that next spring everything will be ready to go…but you know what they say about the best-laid plans!
Once the leaves start to fall it’s tempting to prune your deciduous trees. This isn’t always the best idea as it may encourage the trees to sprout out new growth instead of getting ready for the dormant season…it is the right time, though, to cut out any dead wood or broken branches. The exception is the Dutch Elms we see all over the city. These trees can only be pruned from October 1 – March 31 to protect them from the Elm Bark Beetle that would happily attack an open cut during the summer months. That would be disastrous.
I have cleaned out the annual beds; the frost over the past couple of weeks had left them looking pretty bedraggled. I also cut back the irises and daylilies. In the past, I have not clipped the spent hydrangea flowers, but I did read that if you cut back the plant, it will be more robust in the following year. There are many varieties of hydrangea with different growing habits so I’m still undecided on what’s best. Do you have any suggestions?
This is the ideal time to divide and transplant hostas, daylilies, and peonies. Also, the greenhouses are clearing out what they have left over, and trees and shrubs purchased now still have time to establish roots before the ground is completely frozen. Once you’ve started cleaning out your beds, any gaps in the plantings become quite visible and can be filled in with transplants or new plants. I’m hoping there’s still time to get a load of compost for the rose garden and all the perennial beds. The roses are still blooming so I can’t bring myself to prune them back yet. There are a few (many) brown spots on the lawn (thank you, Chloe) and some top seeding would certainly be helpful.
The hose and sprinklers will not be put away for a while as watering the trees and shrubs are paramount. The leaves have started to fall, but there are thousands more to come down. I usually run the lawnmower over them to mulch and then spread them over the roses. Towards the end of October, the boxwood hedges will have to be protected with burlap.
If I were really on top of things, I would get the lawnmower and hedge-clippers serviced and clean and sharpen all the pruners. That may be a stretch, as I’m not usually that organized… and my middle name is not Martha!
How are things in your garden?