That’s right. Just when you thought the best gardening days were nearly over, that you may as well oil your garden tools and put them away till next year – well you’re wrong. There are plenty of lovely, glorious, fun-filled gardening hours still to be enjoyed. And here’s how you can make the most of them . . .
3 Tips To Stretch Your Garden’s Good Looks Into Fall
1) Cutting = flowers: It’s hard to believe that trimming a plant actually helps produce more flowers, but this is a fact, and here’s the science behind it. Most plants respond to a cut by sending out fresh growth. Lots of gardeners use this method to thicken up a hedge or their screening shrubs. But it’s also a really useful technique for bringing on more flowers after the earlier flushes have run their natural course. It’s a bit like tricking the plant into thinking that the first flowers were lost and so it starts up and makes more to replace them.
Many flowering plants respond well to this treatment… take Volcano phlox for example. You’ll see the first flowers in early summer, and to have them carry through to till Fall, watch for the first flowering to finish then if you’re in a cool climate, simply pinch off the flower heard. If you’re in a climate with longer growing periods, cut the plants back by two thirds. This isn’t as drastic as it sounds as it leaves the plants with enough foliage to quickly regroup and put on another display. Don’t forget to feed heavy bloomers though!
2) Tidy = a garden refresh: It’s funny how we don’t seem to notice just how overgrown and blousy our summer gardens become. If you took a photo in late spring and went outside to take a look a few months later, you’d be shocked. Of course it is lovely, but now is the time to tidy up a little more than usual. If you don’t, you run the risk of everything falling in a heap and looking tired. But if you do, your garden will take a deep breath and set out again to fill in the gaps with lush growth and flowering color.
How do you tidy? Trim those flower-laden canes from the Flower Carpet roses, the ones that overlap paths and paving. Whip out a broom and sweep up the wind-blown debris that a growing garden generates. Carry a bag or basket bag around with you and cut off those old flower heads on the Tropicanna cannas so the foliage can start being the center of attention again. Pull any weeds where you notice them, then top off the mulch to give the garden beds a loved look. Get a soapy brush and wash down the outdoor furniture, then invite someone over for a late season meal al fresco.
3) Planting now = a jump up: What if we were told that by getting the timing right, we could achieve so much more in the garden? It’s true – planting in early fall gives whatever you’ve planted a head start to settle in. The days are filled with moderate temperatures and there’s usually establishment rainfall to give new plants a boost. Come winter, they’ll hunker down and wait for spring when they are very ready to carry on growing.
So now is the time to think about what you might have been planning to plant come springtime. Now is the time to pick them up from the garden center or nursery. Now is the time to dig nice crumbly holes in the garden for those plants, to plant them on a soft-weather day and water them in deeply with a handful of your choice of fertilizer. Post-winter you’ll be astonished at how fast they’ll grow. They will already be part of the landscape around the time you would have been heading out to the garden center if you waited to plant them in spring.
For high res images to accompany this Story Starter, contact Judie Brower at JBrower@TesselaarUSA.com