Tag Archives: Fall garden clean-up

Starting my garden list again

2015-12-3 gloves -prunersContributed by Allan Robinson

Like many of you, last weekend I was completing one of the “final” final clean-ups of the year. I’m hedging to say “final” as this IS New England and for another few weeks leaves will accumulate beneath the Boxwood hedge along my front walk. As the garden winds down, I find myself ticking through my mental checklist, taking stock of my garden. The thought occurs to me – maybe I will be out at least one more time unless Mother Nature unleashes the first snowfall of the year soon – but I digress.

I began my mental list of autumnal tasks: leaves bagged and at the curb, mm-hmm; bulbs in the ground ready to pop in the spring, ok; spigots off, hoses and patio furniture in the basement – all present and accounted for.  Perennials cut back – I’ve even divided a few and transplanted them, ready to settle in for their long sleep.  The winter A-frames and other assorted structures are in place to protect the plants in case we have another monumental snow load like last year.  Holiday lights are on the tree and the ground is beginning to freeze.  I think I may be done, beyond those last pesky leaves.

Sadly another year of gardening is coming to a close.  I’ll continue to mark the calendar with the usual events like Christmas, New Years, MLK & Valentine’s Day until garden activities resume.  I will also follow many of the winter garden events such as my Hawthorne tree losing its berries, Hellebores blooming in late winter, Crocuses and Snowdrops poking their heads through the snow, and some of the surest signs of spring: Hostas, Daylilies and Peonies beginning to push their tiny tips through the ground around the beginning of April. I can’t wait!

Until then I’ll be planning for next year’s garden. Lining up more tasks and big ideas like I hatched during last year’s 106 inches of snow. More transplanting, new plants and bigger projects like a reconfigured deck and an artistic fence to frame a view. While I am sad to head back inside, I feel a sense of satisfaction and optimism for 2016. How about you?

Falling into Spring!

fall into spring pix 2Autumn leaves are falling and covering your garden like a patchwork quilt. Yellows, oranges, reds and all kinds of browns create the soothing color palette of fall. Ornamental grasses have hit their stride and perennial Asters, Chrysanthemums, Sedums and Goldenrod all give a final burst of visual delight. It is very easy to get lulled into a state of sedated calm. Your mind tells you that you have worked so very hard this spring and summer taking care of the garden. Now is the time to relax and enjoy nature’s waning gifts.   OK, naptime is over! Finish your warm cider because there is necessary work to be done to put the garden “to bed” for the winter.

Get started by removing the debris of any remaining summer annuals. For perennials you should consider whether you will really want to get out in early spring to cut them back or is your springtime better spent with other tasks…remember how busy and pressured you felt back in March?   Clean up as much of the perennials as possible now while still leaving some for winter display (i.e. Sedums and ornamental grasses are beautiful in snow) and food for birds (i.e. Coneflower seeds). This is also a great time to do a final weeding. Many weeds make a last effort to go to seed in the fall and completing this task will save you hours of work next season.

Lastly take a critical look at your garden. Are there large gaps? Plants that are failing? Plants that need dividing? Fall is the perfect time to plant trees, shrubs, and perennials. The weather is cooler, rain is usually more plentiful and the soil still warm. New additions to the garden or transplants will have a chance to put out great root growth and get established for next season.

Need help putting your garden to bed? Let us know, we’re ready and able!

Fall into Spring pix 1