Fall’s the time to plant for a lovely spring garden!
SPRING-FLOWERING BULBS AND PERENNIALS
Look around your entrances to driveway, home, garage, walkways, and in your summer gardens for empty areas where color is needed. Look outside from your home for areas where color would be welcome from the indoor views. Buy spring-flowering bulbs at your local garden center, and plant them as soon as possible after buying.
PUTTING YOUR GARDEN DOWN FOR A LONG WINTER'S NAP
You’ll make it easier in spring when you get ready for it this fall. Clean up any weeds in your beds and compost them. Remove dead heads and stalks of flowers. After frost has come, cut perennial plants back to about 3-4"" above ground. If fall is very dry, water deeply several times before soil freezes solid. When soil has frozen solid (normally quite late in fall), add a 2-3"" layer of mulch to the garden surface -- especially good for established roses and newly-planted bulbs and plants.
FALL IS FOR PLANTING
Of course you know spring is when the American public thinks gardening. But fall is really the best time for plants ... and ultimately for the gardener, too, because when spring comes, he or she will have already planted his garden dreams the fall before. He’ll be the only one this spring in his neighborhood to sit back in a lawn chair and simply watch the buds unfurl! If this sounds good, please read on.
ROOTS, THE SECRET
If you were a tree, how would you like to have your roots put into a hole filled with soil in the spring, then stand out in the hot sun which makes your leaves grow faster than your roots? Now compare your experience to the tree which was planted in the fall, when it was beginning to lose its leaves, and left standing in the cool days of fall. Wow, if you could see those little roots grow! Yes, the secret is out ...good roots are the secret to good plant growth.
What to Plant In Fall
* A new lawn, or overseed your northern lawn in fall
* Spring-flowering bulbs and Perennial plants
* Fruit trees
* Flowering shrubs, deciduous trees
* Evergreen shrubs and trees
* Even some hardy (cold-tolerant) annual flowers can be planted very late in the fall (Zones 6-8). They will not begin growth in the garden until spring, but planting in late fall is an ideal way to get seeds in while you can work the soil. Try these: sweet peas, calendula, larkspur, pansies, California poppy, Shirley poppy, snapdragon and stock. You can plant perennial and biennial flower seeds now, too.
TIPS FOR FALL PLANTING
Keep soil moist when planting in fall. Prepare the soil well by loosening it and adding organic matter. Plant your bulbs, seeds, shrubs or trees, and water well. Keep watering deeply on a weekly basis, right up until soil begins to freeze in late fall. When soil has completely frozen, mulch your new perennial, bulb, shrub and tree plantings to provide root protection over the winter. Mulch on the soil surface helps prevent the freezing and thawing (frost heaving) which can damage new root growth.
COLD FRAME PERFECT FOR FALL GARDENING
Now is the time a gardener really wants a cold frame! Why? Because in that frame he can keep gardening as temperatures drop and winter looms. A cold frame acts as a perfect temperate environment for growing lettuce, radishes, scallions right into winter, for fresh salads without interruption. Also perfect for starting pansy and perennial flower seeds to set out in the garden in early spring. Or use it to stash pots of bulbs you are forcing for indoor winter bloom. There is no better gift for a gardener than a cold frame!
Summer makes me start thinking about fall. It’s so hot, I must think of cooler weather. I also think of fall now because that’s the time to plant spring-flowering bulbs. Bulbs are wonderful for new gardeners and experienced gardeners. Spring-flowering bulbs already have a flower bud formed inside. Each bulb is ready to grow and bloom when the time is right. Late summer and early fall is the time to start looking around your flower beds and foundation plantings for bare spots. Also think about places you’d like a bright spot of color early in the season -- such as at the corner where your driveway meets the road; the strip between your curb and your sidewalk; underneath a large rhododendron; or a small area by your front door. All of these areas -- plus many more I’m sure you can think of -- would be so much lovelier planted with spring-flowering bulbs! More about Bulbs, click here.
Although most of the month of September is technically summer, most areas in the US have had a little taste of fall and some areas may even have had some light frost. The cool air is invigorating to human and gardens alike. You’ll find lots of wonderful products for fall planting from late summer through late fall at your local lawn and garden retailer.