Spring flowering bulbs – Planting bulbs is one of my favorite fall projects, plant bulbs in groups of 3’s and 5’s for best display and put them right in between your summer and fall blooming perennials. There are so many excellent bulbs available, new and exciting cultivars look for Daffodils (Narcissus), Grape Hyacinths (Muscari) and Alliums for deer resistance. And try Fritillaria, Chionodoxa, and Camassia bulbs for something a little bit different. When selecting bulbs choose ones with some weight and firmness. Bulbs, which feel like dried husks, are probably not healthy. Shop for bulbs now while the selection is good but wait until the weather cools until you plant them.
Fall is a great time to also plant many trees and shrubs. Look for plants with healthy leaves and strong stems or trunks. Also take a tour of the Arnold Arboretum to see what those shrubs, trees and vines may look like in a few years. They have free, guided tours available as well easy self-guided gardens such as the Leventritt shrub and vine garden.
Divide and replant perennials such as Iris, Shasta Daisy (Leucanthemum), Hosta and others that have thrived in your yard. Share the surplus with friends and neighbors, also many perennials freely self-sow (Echinacea, Digitalis, Coreopsis and others), these “Babies” are easy to dig up and share as well. Chances are if they work in your yard they will work in others.
Reseed bare spots in your lawn, September is best time of year, whether you are repairing bare patches or creating a new lawn. And remember that seed needs a little bit of water every day to germinate effectively, just enough water to moisten not drown the seeds.
Later this month, dig up your ‘tender bulbs’ Gladioli, Cannas, and Dahlias. Trim off the brown shoots and roots and store in a cool dry place for the winter.
Start repotting houseplants in preparation to bringing them back indoors. I scatter my houseplants all over my yard, under shrubs or in bare spots in the garden and typically I forget one poor plant and lose it to frost.
Thank you to everyone who has sent in ‘Questions for Cory’. I will try my best to answer those questions here.
Q. My Lilacs are leggy and overgrown, is September a good time to prune them?
A. Not if you want blooms next spring. All Lilac shrubs (Syringa) bloom on old wood, this means the flower buds for next spring have already been set on your plants. A good rule of thumb for pruning flowering shrubs is right after they finish blooming, and for Lilacs this means Late May or June depending on the species. Lilacs are very long-lived plants and they do respond well to rejuvenation pruning when, as you stated, they become leggy and overgrown. This is most often the case with Common Lilacs (Syringa vulgaris) but it can also be the case with Manchurian Lilacs (Syringa patula), Littleleaf Lilacs (Syringa microphylla) and other species as well. Rejuvenation or Renewal pruning is aggressive and requires complete removal of several old branches at ground level, which then allows sunlight and air into the lower portion of the plant and invigorates new growth. Keep in mind the 1/3 rule – “Never prune off more than 1/3 of a plant in one year”.
Questions for Cory?
Send to: Cory Landscape
PO Box 1059
Dedham, MA 02027