Legends of the Fall
It’s not too late to enjoy a season full of color in your garden.
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Take Time to Plant
Now is the time to hit the sales on perennial plants, shrubs and trees. Consider trees and woody shrubs especially—maples, dogwoods, azaleas and rhododendrons—which can thrive when planted in September and October.
“They can settle and develop a good root system,” says Scanzaroli. “For the rest of the season, they’ll continue to grow roots and establish themselves. Roots love cool weather.”
Consider plants that offer both spring and fall interest. Athey suggests Virginia Sweet Spire, a 4-foot-high shrub that holds its scarlet foliage until Christmas, furnishing a stunning backdrop for an early snow. Fothergilla—also called fothergill—goes through a “rainbow” of colors, she says, and it emits a honey-like scent in spring.
Remember, the root ball is the main reservoir for the tree or shrub. A dry winter necessitates frequent watering to keep plants from drying out, losing leaves and dying.
Plant spring bulbs in October and into November, suggests Jen Bruhler, parks and forestry outreach manager for the Delaware Center for Horticulture. Consider your design. You can put them in beds or even in the yard, since grass usually grows slowly when the bulbs are in bloom.
Hand-held bulb planters work well in a soft garden bed. For a turf bed, you may need an electric auger. In either location, you can also dig a hole and toss a grouping of bulbs in the space. While the planting depth varies depending on the bulb, it’s generally twice the height of the bulb. Carefully read the directions to make sure.
It can be challenging to remember where you planted the bulbs. And since last year’s foliage is long gone, it’s easy to dig up existing bulbs. Athey has a friend who tosses grape hyacinth into each mix. Since the plants keep their foliage most of the summer, they act as flags. A digital camera also makes it a breeze to record plantings.
Page 4: Put Your Yard to Bed