Garden Chores for the Fall Transition

Here we go….a blog about Garden Chores. I can hardly wait. (Sarcasm is dripping like melted chocolate). Yesterday, I wrote about Transitions. Today (actually, it’s 10:26 at night) I am going to write about some of the garden chores to keep things beautiful in an ever-changing garden. This blog will most likely be a bunch of rambling thoughts of things that need to be done in a Fall garden. Transitioning to the Winter and Spring bloom season takes a little planning. Soon, Summer will arrive again. Plants need their layers of compost and mulch to help them through the heat. So here we go…..

The Fall bulbs are coming to the end of their blooms. Any spent blooms should be removed, unless you are experimenting with possible seed propagation. I have had many Oxblood Lilies go to seed. Yes, the seeds do germinate and grow. I’ve also had a Spider Lily produce a viable seed. In spite of these grand efforts to let the flower go to seed, most bulbs use too much of their energy to produce a false seed, and the bulb might not flower the following year. Cut the spent bloom down to the ground is the kindest option for the bulb.

Antique roses have enjoyed their Fall bloom, and are ready for dead-heading. I take this time to cut any dead wood and unproductive canes, as well as dead-heading. Cut the rose stem back to as group of 5 leaves. There is an art to pruning. The goal is yo open the center to allow air flow. Try to not encourage growth towards the middle or on wimpy canes. Compost and mulch….maybe even a little liquid seaweed. If it’s cool at night, do not water roses past early afternoon. Blackspot and powdery mildew will come knocking at your door, and that’s no fun.

Summer annuals, like Bachelor Buttons, Zinnias, Herbs, and other ornamental flowers need to be pruned and dead-headed. Pull out spindly plants or anything unproductive. Collect and dry seedpods for sowing in late Spring.

The herd of Cow Pen Daisies needs to be taken control of. The Monarchs have come and gone. Now it’s time to clip back the unproductive plants, and to encourage reblooming. Clip back Moon Flower, Salvias and other Perennials that are trying to go to seed. Keep them flowering for as long as possible.

Get more soil, compost and mulch and start applying over beds that have been weeded. Spread cardboard around plants for areas that need a chance to catch a breath. The cardboard will smother weeds, and worms will enjoy the moist, delicious habitat cardboard has to offer. I’m hungry already…

It’s a great time to separate perennials and rootbound bulbs. It’s a never-ending story…..

I plant.

I dig.

I separate.

I replant again.

That’s just the way of things. It’s like a diaper…’s always ready for a change.

I might move a few plants too. And dig up a bunch of Four O’Clocks. I’m also going to plant a tree, sow the wildflower seeds and continue weeding. Oh, and work on the potting shed. I might even repaint the chicken coop. The color red sometimes bugs me, and lately, it bugs. I’m also going to replace the five large Lavender plants that I dug up for no reason to move them….then forgot them in the potting shed to die a slow and painful plant death. I still feel the guilt of murdering the Lavender.

These are just a few of the garden chores I will be doing during my Fall Garden Transition. With any luck, I will get 13% of this list accomplished before I start repainting the barn or mosaicing a piece of wood. If I was at a plant store, I’d also be purchasing a bunch of new flower bulbs for the Spring. For now, my list is full. See? Transitions don’t have to be all bad. 🙂

Happy Gardening, my friends!