Fall Garden Preparations

ladylotus(Z3/4 ND)October 15, 2007


This weekend I stopped working on my greenhouse to see if I could erradicate some of my weeds and begin to place more shredded bark on my garden beds and clean out my pond by removing all the leaves from the waterlilies and other plants. I was able to finish cleaning my pond, but have a lot of work left in my flowerbeds.

My flowerbeds are so large that it takes tons of shredded bark to get everything covered. I found out that if I refresh the mulch that was placed last year in one of my beds, that the task is MUCH easier. In all the rest of my beds I allowed the mulch to completely break down the weeds are just thriving and there is no moisture in the beds. They are taking me much longer to mulch and I am not liking the task.

Do most of you refresh your mulch every year or perhaps every other year? Does that make the task easier for you as well?

I generally cover my roses with a combination of peat moss and soil. I have to get that done before mid November. I would still like to add compost to more of my shrubs and roses also. Not sure that there will be enough time for adding compost with everything else that needs to be done.

What are the rest of you doing?

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I have been working on weeding also, just the perennial problems, the annuals will not be a problem come spring...I usually top dress my flower beds with fresh mulch in the spring because I rake up alot of it during spring clean-up as I get rid of all the leaves and such that blow into the beds during the winter. If it looks as though we are doomed to deep cold and no snow, I will add a layer of leaves or straw to protect the garden once the ground gets a good frost in it.

Strange fall...usually at this time I am putting off cleaning my containers, looking at them with disdain and then moving them (still dirty) to their winter spot in the basement. This year they are still full! They are still nice...I have only dumped 3 of the 50 or so that surround the house. So I will, without a doubt, not get them cleaned up before spring...big surprise.

November is rose time for me too, I will put the hybrid teas to bed and put protective fencing around some shrubs that the rabbits will be sure to eat to the ground if I do not fence.

I am sure I will run out of time before I run out of work to do, that is all I am sure of....


    Bookmark   October 15, 2007 at 10:36PM
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jel48(Z4 Michigan)

I'm not going to do a lot, here in this new yard. I did sink about 40 potted hostas into the ground and have lightly mulched them with pine needles (which are abundant here). I'm collecting maple and oak leaves and shredding them as I go. Once the ground freezes solid I will mulch the hostas with that (plus a little purchased mulch if I come up short). The perennials that are already here will make it on their own. Next year, I'll see what I actually have here for perennials and then will see where it goes from there! I did bring in some geraniums last weekend, and one tropical hibiscus (tree form) has been indoors for a month now. I still have one other tropical hibiscus (shrub form) outdoors and it looks great! Would you believe, it had a blossum last week and there are new flower buds on it right now! What a different autumn this has been.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2007 at 10:45PM
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hostaholic2 z 4, MN

I'm trying to do some weeding and waiting for the lilies to finish ripening as I have some that should be divided. If it stops raining one of these days I may just go ahead and get at the lilies as they've had a longer season to feed the bulbs than usual. (Whatever usual is now!)

    Bookmark   October 15, 2007 at 10:46PM
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ladylotus(Z3/4 ND)

Helen, that's interesting that you rake 'off' your leaves in the Spring. May I ask why you do that? I leave all my mulch on the beds and especially my leaves as they feed my plants and break down so nicely in the soil. I've never had problems with my plants rotting and I am never really careful..pulling the leaves away from the base of the plants. I have read that others also rake off their mulch but I've never been able to figure out why. I don't mulch to winter over my perennials, I mulch to hold in moisture over the summer and smother the weeds.

It sounds as though everyone is in the process of performing similar tasks. I have many of my tropicals still outside as I have not had time to bring them in yet. I still need to bring in my citrus, hibiscus, jasmine and my mandeville vine in. I have to do that this week for sure! I see the temperatures are supposed to drop by the end of the week.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2007 at 11:18PM
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jel48(Z4 Michigan)

Ladylotus, how do you care for your mandeville vine over the winter? I've brought them in a couple of different years, and they dropped all their leaves, lived through the winter, but never grew vigorously enough the following summer to produce many leaves, much less blossums.

    Bookmark   October 16, 2007 at 12:29AM
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Hi Ladylotus,
I rake off the leaves in the spring because I am a neat freak and I love the look of the fresh wood mulch in my beds. It accentuates the shape of the beds in juxtopostion to the green lawn...I realize your way is better for the plants, and I do dig in some of the mulch before I top dress...But in the garden, like in life, I am visually driven...and not always practical :-) Helen.

    Bookmark   October 16, 2007 at 8:37AM
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ladylotus(Z3/4 ND)

Jel48, I bring my mandeville vine inside and place it in an east facing sliding glass door. One of the things I do to keep it as healthy as possible is to water with rain water or melted snow. Mine loses some leaves also, but to get mine to bloom well in the Spring, I give it lots of fish emulsion when I water it. That really seems to kick it in gear and it grows nice lush foliage and it blooms like the dickens.

Helen, my leaves generally blow away if I don't place woodchips or grass clippings over them. But the beautiful black, loamy soil that it leaves behind is definitely worth the mess. he he...


    Bookmark   October 16, 2007 at 9:17PM
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Too squishy. I am waiting for things to dry out a little bit, if ever, the way this fall is going. No frost yet so all the annuals are still going.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2007 at 7:28AM
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jel48(Z4 Michigan)

Thanks ladylotus, Tj is it? I may try that. I have a huge east facing window in my new home. I have it pretty well filled up with orchids and hibiscus, but I may just be able to squeeze in a little more. I have two Mandevilles in pots outdoors and I'm thinking maybe at least one of them....

    Bookmark   October 17, 2007 at 10:16PM
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zenpotter(z4 MN)

My poor gardens are on their own this year and have been since mid July when I got Lyme disease and now I have a torn rotary cuff in my left arm. This winter will tell me just how much my gardens need me in the fall.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2007 at 8:17AM
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ladylotus(Z3/4 ND)

Well, today I took the plunge and brought in my jasmine, hibiscus, and my citrus trees. I still have my miniature roses outside. I was hoping to finish my greenhouse and then I would be able to put my mini roses in there.

I can't believe how quickly this summer has flown by. I still have roses, russian sage, echinacea, aster and mums blooming in my gardens. They look so beautiful that I hate to see them end. I still have not finished my mulching. I hope I get some time to do that before it begins to snow.

I purchased some more lilies asiatic, orental and trumpets, they arrived this week. Tomorrow I will get them planted. I will use my compost and mix it in the hole when planting them and that should be it for this year.

My pond has been cleaned of all the lily pads and various other plants. I always place a floating stock heater into the pond which creates a small hole in the ice and a small pump which provides the needed oxygen for the fish.

Tomorrow I will take in the hoses and that is a sure sign the gardening year is over!

    Bookmark   October 20, 2007 at 8:22PM
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