Okay, summer’s over. Done. Kaput. It’s time to stop lamenting and wishing the weather had been better, that this or that plant had sparkled instead of looking like death on a stick, or that the potato crop had produced spuds larger than ping-pong balls. The gardening year, however, is not yet over. In fact, in addition to completing the usual fall cleanup activities, now is the perfect time to begin shaping the garden/yard for next year.
We live in a climate that spring flowering bulbs adore – lots of winter rain followed (usually) by a dry summer. Plant these bulbs now, in the ground or in containers, and you’ll be rewarded with weeks of welcome colour starting in late winter or early spring. Just remember that bulbs can always benefit from a bit of bone meal, and they need to be in well-drained soil or they’ll rot. Remember, too, that deer don’t eat daffodils/narcissi, so these beauties can be planted outside the always-too-full protected areas. And speaking of bulbs, get your garlic crop into the ground as soon as possible. Planting in early fall gives garlic a great start and results in larger heads come mid-summer harvest.
Looking for summer shade and fall colour in the form of a tree? Visit local nurseries now to see what the leaves look like at this time of year. Planting trees (and shrubs) now is ideal because the roots will have months to settle in and grow strong before warm weather forces growth in the spring. Nature will do months of critical watering for you and setback will be minimal.
Have peonies, Siberian iris or daylilies that are overcrowded – and who doesn’t? – or that you would just like to have more of because they are so absolutely gorgeous? Now is the time to divide and replant or share them with friends. Oh, and that plant resembling death on a stick … well, if it’s a shrub, small tree or hardy perennial that hasn’t been performing well for a couple of years, it may just be very unhappy in its current location. Consider moving it now to somewhere more accommodating, e.g., into better/worse soil, more/less sun, drier/wetter ground.
These are but a few of the many outdoor activities that entertain gardeners in the fall while they are still busy finding ways to preserve the summer harvest. So many questions … so many ideas … and so much experience in our little piece of world. In fact, this month’s meeting of the Sooke Garden Club will be an opportunity for members to share their experiences through: Gardener’s Forum. What worked, what didn’t, and why? The annual photo competition and the annual fall plant sale are also on the schedule.
Join us on Wednesday, Oct. 26, 7:30 p.m., in the Sooke Legion Hall.
New members are always welcome. Information at: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 250-642-0058.