The Garden Path

Published on Thu, Sep 26, 2002 by Michelle Ensinger

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The Garden Path

By Michelle Ensinger

Aren’t we glad we didn’t plant our bulbs yet? Be patient, soon we’ll be planting and perhaps container layering our bulbs for abundant color next year.

A lot of yards already have the manicured look, but if you want to add some softness, have you considered ornamental grasses? The following is a list of grasses that can withstand high ocean winds and are quite salt tolerant – Giant reed grass, variegated giant reed grass, feather reed grass, black sedge, palm sedge, pampas grass, northern sea oats, pink pampas grass, Oregon tufted hair grass, corkscrew rush, findhorn lyme grass, golden hanging hair grass, maiden grass, malepartus silver grass, blue wild rye, zebra grass, variegated Japanese silver grass, variegated common reed, red switch grass, and dwarf cattails.

Perhaps these small trees may help you through any of your winter blahs as some retain their fruits or have colorful twigs, but remember when planting check the height and width to determine the best location to make you and your new plant pal happy – paperbark maple, coral bark, Japanese maple, columnar hornbeam, glory bower tree, blood-twig dogwood, red-twig dogwood, yellow-twig dogwood, Washington hawthorn, birch bark cherry, pin oak, contorted willow, or camperdown elm.

If you have a garden protected from wind and early frost, well-drained and fertile, and continue to deadhead (the process of taking off “spent” or “old” flowers, plus the stalk, down to the next set - or three to four sets of leaves) there are some annuals that will continue to flower until frost. With our cooler nights, I protect my geraniums and fuchsias and am preparing to bring in my cacti and succulents that have been under our trees all summer.

Remember to check for bugs, spidermites, slugs, etc. Now for the list – mask flower, browallia, plume cockscomb, cosmos, African daisy, sweet alyssum, blue sage, marigold, zinnia, fibrous begonia, calendula, crown daisy, dahlia, common heliotrope, black-eyed Susan, scarlet sage, and flowering tobacco.

If your vegetable garden is finished and you’ve reaped all of its rewards, you could work in some aged steer/cow or horse manure and prepare to plant a crop of fall rye (green manure). It not only adds fibre to the soil when you spring till, but it helps to hold the soil’s nutrients in place. In warmer areas your veggies may still be producing, so hold off on the above process.

Please note - fresh manure can not only over-stimulate plant growth, but also burn roots.

If your trees are losing their foliage, remember to clean up the leaves, to prevent insects and disease from over-wintering in your garden.

According to the University of Connecticut, newly fallen leaves exude chemicals which could inhibit plant growth, but if allowed to break down for one or two seasons, the textured fertilizer called lead mould, can be used as a safe mulch.

Remember do not apply lime sulfur/dormant oil on your trees until they have lost all of their leaves.

If any of your perennials are in the process of dying back, please allow them to do so on their own accord. After the stalks/leaves have dried up, then you can remove the foliage. For perennials that bloom in August, it is best if left in place until early spring before dividing.

Now is also the time to plan your yard and garden for next year. Every season is a blessing of its own. Enjoy!.