Author Linda Cobb
Master Gardener Linda Cobb

Linda Cobb is a garden writer and certified Master Gardener who lives in Spartanburg, South Carolina. She is the author of My Gardener's Guide: Easy Steps to a Better Garden.

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Our Garden by Linda Cobb

Our Garden in Fall

With the onset of cooler weather, comes the change of seasons. Make way for violas, cabbages, asters, and pumpkins!

After several very hot summer months, we will welcome September and October with open arms.  Here comes less humidity, cooler days, and crisp night air.  It is time to prune gardenias after the last bloom has faded away.  Cut off any dead stems from daylily plants, especially the seed pods that form on the ends of the flower stems.  Transplant flats of pansies, alyssum, poppies, and candytuft that have been grown from seed. Propagate hardwood cuttings from camellias, azaleas, and hollies. 

The Chrysanthemum show will be starting any day now.  After pinching off the tops of the plants on Memorial Day, 4th of July, and Labor Day settle back and let them bloom!  Remember to check any plant coming indoors for bugs lurking under plant leaves and on stems.  Bring all plants indoors by October 15.

After pruning your roses in August, be prepared for the fall blast of blooms that is coming.  Do not fertilize the roses any more, as they will be preparing for winter after this heavy bloom period.  Redo window boxes for fall and winter by adding dwarf English Boxwoods or small Dwarf Alberta Spruces, along with some trailing ivy, chrysanthemums, or pansies.
Fall is a great time to plant perennials because they spend all winter getting settled into their new spaces, and putting down roots.  Come springtime, they will be ready to bloom their heads off.  Remember, fall is still a great time to get some fantastic sale items if you want to give those plants a head start.

One of the great plants is Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’. Time after time, this plant is mentioned
by great gardeners everywhere.  It is a succulent, which means it can take drought conditions well, as they store water in their fleshy leaves.  The plant starts out in the springtime with pink blooms on it.  As fall arrives, the pink blooms turn a nice rusty color.  Leave the flower heads on the stems throughout the winter.  That provides a nice winter interest in an otherwise bleak landscape.  Try it, Sedum ‘Autumn Joy.’

Aster ‘Monch’ is blooming its head off, and Plumbago ground cover has taken on that wonderful rusty color and is blooming in blue flowers.  Pee Gee hydrangea is blooming now and soon it will be time to dry those perfect hydrangeas.  If you select the faded blossoms, or the ones that have turned green, they will dry better.  Put the cut hydrangeas in a vase with water, and then let it evaporate naturally.  The result will be a perfectly dried hydrangea bloom.  Enjoy the cooler weather.

Adding bulbs to your garden should become an annual activity.  This year add a collection of different shades of blue Muscari.  Also pick up several bags of Angelique tulips at any home store.  When planting any tulip bulb, remember to dig several really large holes (about 15 inches across) and plant about twenty tulips in each hole.  Volume is a big deal here.  The group of blooming bulbs will look better to you and all your visitors.  Another tip is to remember to chill the tulip bulbs for three weeks prior to planting.  The reason for this is that we have such warm winters here that the chilling period in the refrigerator is needed.  Remember, you are investing in spring when you are planting bulbs.

Posted by Linda on Sep 01, 2006

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