Angela Lassam - It's Still Just Dirt
It has suddenly become Fall where the garden chores become very different. It is a time for reflection and maybe reorganization.
Grass seems to be something we rarely consider this time of year but to get a good appearance next year there are a few things we can do now.
Bare patches in the lawn are easier to repair in the fall as the ground will not dry out and germination will come easily. A scattering of topsoil over the seeds will keep them in place and encourage growth. The last mowing of the lawn needs to be a little higher than summer cutting for protection. It will also allow the chopped leaves to give it a mulching for the winter.
When it seems as if the grass is no longer growing it is time to apply a fall fertilizer. It will sustain the roots throughout the winter and will allow the uptake in the early spring for growth as soon as the temperature is right. If it is done in the fall you can delay application again until May.
In the flower beds you can divide many of the perennials to encourage more blooms. There are several common plants that thrive after this and also allows us to share with fellow gardeners or to reorganize a tired bed. Asiatic lilies, Oriental lilies, Siberian iris all grow extra bulbs attached to the original planted one. Division is a way of expanding your garden colour. Peonies can be lifted and divided in the fall. Astilbe, Veronica and Bleeding Heart will all bloom better after being divided.
Strawberry runners can be transplanted to either tidy up an existing bed or enlarge it. Careful lifting is necessary as they are tender with small roots, but snip the runner and plant it as you would any annual.
There is always the task of planting some of the new varieties of spring bulbs and maybe invest in some of the more unusual ones. After browsing through a new catalogue I found some interesting bulbs. Fritillaria is an old spring bulb but worth a mention. There are many to choose from either as a crown of colour or a bells formation. I also saw a Camassia ‘Blue Melody’ which is a violet blue flower with variegated foliage. Eremurus commonly called foxtail lily has a spiked flower and is available in various colours. It is deer resistant and drought tolerant. I found a Muscari ’Golden Fragrance’. Its common name is Grape Hyacinth but not typical in appearance. The flowers are a novelty to see with golden tubular florets and a topping of purple tubes.
Lastly leaves can be used as mulch for the winter on the flower beds and will encourage early growth to all perennials. If there is an abundance of leaves on the lawn in late fall it is advisable to rake them up as the snow and rain will create a mat which will stifle new growth next year.
Next meeting of the Tillsonburg Horticultural Society is Tuesday, Oct. 3 at 7:30 p.m. in the Senior Centre Auditorium, Tillsonburg Community Centre. Speaker for this meeting will be Larry Peterson, Professor Emeritus, University of Guelph. He will talk about fungi and what lies beneath the soil.
Members, remember this meeting is the Photo Competition. Non-members welcome, $2 per meeting or become a member and get extra benefits.
For further information check out www.tillsonburghorticultural.ca or on Facebook (tillsonburghorticultural).