Planning for the Fall

Kathy Henderson

Garden Columnist

As my garden activities usually dwindle to harvesting veggies, pulling weeds while watering plants and tending container gardens, I entertain myself by planning what I will do when Fall approaches. However, I have begun to do some of the usual fall activities because of the rainy summer.

This rainy summer has hastened the death of my tomato plants. The abundance of tasty heirloom tomatoes was short-lived and I only have a few left. Using no chemicals in the garden and planting the heirlooms pays off in safety and flavor but rainy seasons like this summer can make the harvest short. The peppers, eggplants and beans have yet to produce in abundance and the cucumbers have taken the same route as the tomatoes. Therefore, I have a little time to plant in the moist ground.

Adding a large stone, perennials and an angel makes your garden magical. Special photo

Well, back to thinking about the future - more perennial and shrub planting. The ground is moist, so I am putting in some of those now. The nurseries often put these on sale this time of the year because by now the plants look ragged in their pots. So, for you value-minded gardeners, this is the perfect time to start looking for bargains. If you don’t want to get out in this heat and humidity and plant, then put them in an area close to your water hose and take care of them until you do want to plant.

Just walking around the garden looking for places where you might want to add some new shrubs, perennials or winter annuals will help you make decisions. Take along a notebook to put your ideas in writing so you won’t forget them. It’s like making a grocery list; if you don’t write it down, you will forget the exact thing you went to buy - you get distracted with other items that are attractive. Be sure to make notes on the surrounding plants and the environment (shade, moisture, direction of sun). Several pictures of the areas taken on your phone camera will be helpful when you want to ask the nurseryman about ideas for the area.

Just a note here about plants - they are not pets. It is no crime to remove them if they are not attractive or you need the space. If they are nice plants and you can transplant them, do so or give them to someone who might like to have them in their landscape. I say this for myself as much as for you. I get attached! But the time comes in the life of every garden when a plant no longer is in a space that is appropriate (for many reasons) and must be removed or transplanted. If transplanted, it may actually thrive and become more attractive. Oh, my, I have many plants in that situation! Especially those that need more sun because the shade has grown over them. Now they stretch in one direction trying to find the sun making them ugly and misshapen.

You might want to add some containers for color in the garden where you cannot plant because of roots or other problems. Planting container gardens with hardy small shrubs, perennials and winter annuals can make your garden a comfortable place on those pleasant fall and winter days.

Also, don’t forget that garden furniture is often on sale this time of the year, so look for bargains to add to the landscape that encourage enjoyment of the garden - those weeds can wait while you sit and enjoy the scenery. I have always said that garden seating is the most useless item an avid gardener can purchase. When do we have time to sit? Take the time! Insect repellent, lemonade and a good book - let them seduce you into finding that special place in your garden. If you don’t have it; now is the time to plan your spot for those wonderful cooler fall days!

Check out my Facebook page, Kathy’s Plants, for what is happening in my garden and for descriptions on plants that you might like in your garden.