Monday, October 22, 2012
Posted By: in Gardening

appleThus far a pretty darn good front half of October. I’m almost ready to call it even for the soupy June and July!

My apples are doing well and I’m steeling myself for a marathon applesauce making session shortly.

Not that I can’t make other things with all of the heritage varieties that are ripening on my little trees but the family loves sauce!

Where else can you turn a full day of peeling and chopping and canning into litre containers that the walking stomachs (13 year old twins) consume in a matter of days unless I hide some…which I do and no I’m not telling…they have eyes and ears everywhere!

Here is the list and even though you might be raring to go and move stuff in the garden before the real cold hits you might want to take your time and let the ground absorb some of this long awaited rain for a week or two at least!

Leaves and lawnsLawns – Rake the leaves off the grass or you will have dead patches where they’ve smothered out the lawn. You can add the leaves as mulch to the garden beds or keep as a brown layer for the compost or even use if you are creating a new garden bed using the lasagna gardening technique.

Get that last mow in when you can or if you’ve irrigated and your lawn is actively growing. If your lawn is green and not dormant you can still add a fall fertilizer.

You can also aerate, top dress and lime at this time of year if you’ve missed out in the spring or you are taking the war of attrition approach on your lawn as I am.

Trees and shrubs – You can add new ones to your garden any time the ground is not frozen solid. If you want to move existing ones in the garden I’d hold off until the ground absorbs some more moisture and they become dormant if they are deciduous shrubs. If they are evergreens I would still wait until the ground is more saturated.

As for pruning, that is best left until January/February, though you can remove dead, damaged or diseased branches at any time. You can do a bit of a clean up on your roses and hydrangeas and other flowering shrubs if they are flopping over.

Heuchera Frosted VioletGarden beds – You can add new hardy perennials but the same goes for moving perennials as for shrubs…wait until the ground has absorbed some rain before dividing and moving and yes, I know it’s getting late but Mother Nature has decided to throw us a curve ball by shifting the techniques using all of those leaves you’ve just raked to make some new garden beds.

I know you’ve heard me prattle on about it but don’t make your garden beds too tidy, our ground dwelling pollinators rely on those left over stems and perennials to make their winter homes.

Dahlias
If you haven’t already done so, pull the dahlias once they’ve been knocked back by a hard frost. Cut off all the greenery and inspect. Toss any that don’t meet muster and allow the rest of them to dry out in say a garage or a carport. Store in paper bags in peatmoss or in mesh bags. Ditto goes for Cannas.

Water Gardens – continue to clean out the pond from leaves and oxygenators, blow out hose lines etc. Thin out underwater lily leaves and remove other debris which form toxic gasses. Let your fish guide you for the feeding. If they are active and eating the food, continue. As it gets colder and they become more sluggish, taper off the food.

fritillaria bulbsBulbs bulbs bulbs. Time to plant your spring blooming bulbs! If you have a squirrel problem…the ones in my neighbourhood have very expensive tastes, you can try placing a Frittilaria bulb among your tastier bulbs such as crocus and tulips.

The Fritillaria bulbs smell a bit like skunk and will mask the scent of the other tasties. In my garden about 1 Fritillaria per 2 square feet seems to work dandy.

Not to worry, the flowers of the Fritillaria bulbs smell nothing like the bulbs!

Pots – Come on, you can do it…pull out those annuals!! Add winter colour like Wintergreen, Carex, baby Yews and winter pansies etc. Don’t forget to layer bulbs in for early spring or winter colour.

Plants for winter planters

That’s about all I can think of for now! Time to tuck in to a good book and snuggle in to my favorite dog furry cosy chair with a cuppa joe on this dreary but much needed rainy day!

Laurelle Olfdord-Down

Laurelle Olfdord-Down

Laurelle is a certified horticulturalist and Landscape designer. She is currently an up and coming apple guru, growing over 120 cultivars which explains her passion for edible garden design. Laurelle works part time for Art’s Nursery. You can also interact with her through Art’s monthly newsletter, our blog and our gardening channel on YouTube.


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