It’s fall clean-up time. Clear annu-al beds after heavy frost. If you have not already done so, mark the locations of perennials with names on stakes in your garden or begin a gardening guide. You can sketch your gardens and insert the names of all items. This will be an invaluable asset as you can quickly flip pages to identify plants and their locations. Clean and store summer flowering bulbs such as Dahlias, Canna and Gladiolas. Clean up the leaves and garden refuse. Shut off outdoor faucets and disconnect hoses.
Wrap evergreens if snow might break the branches or if wind will cause dehydration. Use tree guards to protect bark from rodents. Reduce houseplant feeding as winter approaches. Clean, oil and repair tools before storing.
Purchase and plant Amaryllis and Paperwhites for indoor winter. blooms. Put protective boards over shrubs near buildings to deflect snow sliding from roof. Protect Poinsettias from drying out by keep-ing them in a bright cool room. Choose from large selections of excellent Christmas plants and flowers, they make wonderful hostess gifts.
Officially starts June 20, and that’s good news for gardeners because it means there’s still plenty of time to plant or to enhance a summer garden. White Flower Farm’s experts offer their top five, easy- to- follow tips for a beautiful, healthy garden.
Take lots of pictures!
It is said that the garden peaks in the first two weeks of August. Enjoy! And use some of your best pictures as wall paper on your computer. Come winter you will be glad that you did. Continue to spray Bordo copper spray on your tomatoes to prevent early and late blight.
Mulch Your Garden
After planting your favorite flowers, top- dress the bed with compost and a two- inch layer of organic mulch. Mulch helps suppress weeds, retains moisture in the soil, and keeps the soil cooler. Check to see what mulches are available locally, such as shredded bark, pine needles, or buckwheat hulls.
Fill a Container with Color
Brighten your deck or entryway with decorative planters made of clay or stone, or try the lightweight polyethylene or fiberglass pots that resemble natural materials. Combinations of bold- leaved tropical plants and traditional annuals are popular this season. Pair bananas with petunias or salvia, for example.
Edge Your Beds
Clean, crisp edges give a finished look to garden borders. Use an edging tool just for this purpose or use a sharp, flat spade to cut neatly through sod.
Bring Your Houseplants Outdoors
Bring your houseplants outdoors to dress up the patio or deck. Good choices include dracaena, weeping fig, scheffiera and dieffenbachia cultivars, hibiscus, cacti and succulents. Houseplants benefit from summer rain and fresh air, but introduce them gradually to outdoor life. Place plants in heavy shade initially, then gradually expose them to more sun over a few days. Now is also the time to re-pot and fertilize those plants.
Encourage visits by growing flowers that attract hummingbirds, such as fuchsia, bee balm, and other annuals or perennials with red blossoms. Hang a feeder designed especially for them.