Yes…that is me in Brugge…on a boat….enjoying the mist and enjoying petrichor………about 17 days ago. The memories…oh the memories, which I will continue to share…after I sort my photos, gather my thoughts and take you on a verbal journey of a most awesome time in Paris.
However I am back and it is feeling like fall is in the air. I wanted to share a few things as I prepare to venture into my garden:
- I read this week that we are near medium drought…I had to laugh. Here in District Heights, Maryland we have had NO measurable rain in over 60+ days. We are in serious drought. You now have permission to use your hose. Water the root zones and soak, soak, soak. Light watering does no good!!!
- Now more than ever is the time when we need to be more educated on what we are planting and the definition of a waterwise or xericscaping. According to Merriam Webster, xeriscaping is a method developed especially for arid and semi arid climates that utilizes water conserving techniques (as the use of drought tolerant plants, mulch and efficient irrigation). Waterwisegardens.com describes the term water wise as a way gardeners strive to create appropriate gardens in climates or regions where rainfall is restricted or limited. Education is key to both of these methods of gardening smarter and more efficiently.
- Fall is the time for planting. This is FACT! When you plant in the fall of the year, plant materials have a wonderful opportunity to get their roots settled and well watered over the winter months. Usually during the winter, we have ample rain, snow, freezing ran and of course, ice. All of these elements will sink into the ground and will give the roots the moisture that is needed for healthy plant material to thrive. Of course, if we do not get moisture, supplemental watering is necessary. For trees and shrubs, check with a reputable landscaper, nursery or call your local extension office for advice in your region. For my zone 6 garden, if I have planted a tree or shrub in the fall and rainfall is minimal, I try to provide minimally a gallon of water to the root zone each week, unless the ground is frozen.
- Compost those leaves. If you have a lawn, run over them with your lawn mower and then toss them into your flower beds. What a great way to add extra nutrients from Mother Nature right back into your green space. If you use chemicals, make certain that thy will not adversely affect your flowers or veggies.
- Notice those gaps and consider perennials or bulbs that will save you money next year. Perennials give you more bang for your buck, if it is the right perennial for your zone. Knowing your zone, makes you an educated consumer as well as a happy gardener. There is no value in purchasing a plant that is great for a zone that is not yours. Read the label and know your zone.
- Trees and shrubs do grow. While it might be small now – read the label. You may not want that cute little shrub that grows to a 50 foot spreading mass next to a small walkway. Note the care instructions as you are reading the label. If you are not into pruning, shaping or can afford to hire a notable person to do so for you – reconsider the purchase. ALL PLANT MATERIAL NEEDS MAINTENANCE. Whether it is just in the Spring or throughout the season, ALL PLANTS NEED MAINTENANCE.
- Consider your hardscaping needs. If you want to expand that terrace, walkway or even build a raised bed, the moderate temperatures of fall makes these tasks a breeze. Check for deals on stone, pavers or wood products to save money on these projects.
- If you need to move plant material to make way for these projects, moving plant material now is a great idea. Just make sure that after moving, plant material is kept watered and heeled in properly, while working on that special project. I have found that if I am in the midst of a project and I am not sure about my timing on replanting, I dig the plant material and transplant (heeling in) to a secure area,water and mulch thoroughly. This way I am not pressured to worry about them as much.
- Allow your plants to prove their hardiness. I have found that although a few of my shrubs were looking quite questionable after the severe drought of a few years ago, they bounced back the following Spring with an exuberance like never before. Now that might not happen this year, but I am not losing faith in the durable plants I have selected in my garden….so we shall see in the Spring. I will be documenting their struggle and share.
- Visit public gardens for ideas of what is thriving. Most public gardens have demonstration areas that share what plant material has proven to be hardy in spite of it all. The US Botanic Garden has an awesome Xeric gardening example, as well as ideas for bodacious planter combinations. All gardening does not have to take place in the ground. Container gardening is a popular alternative and a great way to start gardening if you are a newbie to the gardening experience.
- Finally — THERE ARE NO DEER PROOF PLANTS. I have noticed that several items that are on local deer proof lists have been devastated by deer this summer. Perhaps this is only in District Heights – I would love to hear of other areas that have plant material usually not eaten by deer, but have been the deer buffet this summer. There are some plants that are not a deer’s first choice, but a hungry deer will eat just about anything.
I hope that these tips help as you begin to rethink your garden this fall. All is never lost, the nurseries will be selling plants this Fall and in the Spring, redefine your gardens by reading garden magazines/publications/online offerings or even attend seminars, join a garden club, walk around your neighborhood to see how your neighbor’s garden, start a community gardening conversation and at least for me…..(planning yet another trip…crazy I know)….there is always Paris and her beautiful gardens!
Enjoy today on purpose!!