By Craig Hutchinson, Owner, Lawrence Park Complete Garden Care Ltd.
Homeowners often think of the end of the summer as the end of the garden season. And yet the fall is the time of year when our gardens are at their best.
Annuals are often at their fullest and most colourful. And let’s not forget about those spectacular fall colours that people from all over the world are envious of.
However, it seems that many people tend to think of their gardens as finished for another year. And yet there is still so much to do, see, and plan for!
Caring for your gardens in the fall
To start with, the biggest mistake that most homeowners make is to turn off their water, or at least stop watering. While the cooler nights and days require your garden to need less water, your lawn, plants, and especially your trees will need consistent watering until almost the first heavy frost.
In addition, your garden will need many things both to prepare it for winter and next spring, such as fall overseeding and aeration, division and transplanting of perennials, bulb planting, and preparing of your special plants for the winter.
Most landscape professionals recognize fall to be one of the best times to overseed your lawn. The cooler overnight temperatures of late August right through September make it ideal for sowing new seed.
Also, the cooler conditions that come later in the month of September are perfect for dividing and transplanting your precious perennials. Here’s an opportunity to really sort things out in your garden so that it doesn’t get too overcrowded and looks its best come spring. Healthy, well-established perennials usually require some reworking every 3 to 4 years depending on their growth habit and planting conditions.
When October’s temperatures are near their lowest, consider planning for your best spring garden with bulbs. What better way to show your garden by adding a splash of spring colour? Try tulips, daffodils, or hyacinths for a really sensational way to bring in the spring season.
Preparing your lawn and gardens for winter
After the leaves are down and your lawn and garden have had a proper cleaning, there’s no better way to add nutrients to your garden then by adding compost. And I’m not talking cow or sheep manure, but real garden compost that comes from leaves and grass and is properly broken down so it will not harm you or your gardens.
Lastly, don’t forget to make sure your tender, more sensitive plants such as your roses and rhododendrons are mounded and tented for the winter. This can often make the difference for survival and overall vitality next season. And if you have special evergreens that can’t handle snow or ice, tie or wrap them so they don’t get damaged in the event of stormy weather.
And remember, it’s never too soon to design and plan for your best garden ever, even if it seems so far away. Either way, don’t forget to enjoy your splendid, colourful fall gardens!