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Monthly Archives: November 2018

November 30, 2018

Reflecting On The Growing Season

As we retreat into our homes for the winter, now is the time to think back to the past growing season while it’s fresh in your mind and take notes for next season. If you wait too long into the winter, the growing season will seem like a distant dream and you may not remember all of the successes and failures you’ll want to learn from for next year.

Garden Journal

Keeping a garden journal — or even a running list — of things throughout the growing season will benefit you greatly when planning for next year. Take note of any new varieties (even annuals) that you planted and periodically jot down how they’re doing in your garden. If you moved or divided existing perennials, it’s important to note the date that you did this and how they’re doing towards the end of the season.

If you’re feeling extra ambitious, head out to the garden once a week and make a list of what’s in bloom. This is a fantastic way to look back at the season and take notice of times in the season where you may have wanted more color. Then you can look up varieties that bloom during that time and add them in spring. If you loved a particular bouquet you cut from your garden, write down the varieties and date you cut it. All of this information is so helpful to future you who may feel like the summer was too far gone to remember.

End-Of-Season Breakdown

Even if you didn’t keep a garden journal throughout the season, it’s nice to write down an end-of-season “debrief” while it’s still fresh in your mind. Overall, what were you favorite moments you enjoyed in your landscape? What plants stood out to you that looked especially fantastic? What plants do you remember struggling with? This is a fun activity for one of those first cold days you’re stuck inside. Look back at photos you have saved on your phone or those you posted to social media to help refresh your mind.

Looking Forward To Next Season

Although you may want to wait a few months to actually make your list of plants you’d like to order for next season, now is the time to think about what you want to accomplish in the garden while it’s still fresh in your mind. If you want more fragrant plants, make a note of this. If you felt like you could have grown more Carrots, write this down to order more come spring. If you loved a particular annual you got at the garden center, make sure to add this to your notes to order for next year.

Our growing season are so short here in Vermont it is easy to become overwhelmed with everything that needs to be done in such a short amount of time. But taking an hour or two once the cold weather sets in to remember what went well and what could have been improved will help you immensely once you start planning for next season.

November 16, 2018

How To Put Your Garden To Rest For The Season

Fall can come swiftly here in Vermont and it can be hard to get everything done before the snow sticks, but there are a few things you should (and shouldn’t do) before the winter to help ready your garden for a successful season once the ground thaws in spring. We’ll go over our top musts for putting your garden to rest for the season and a few things you can put off until spring.

Leaves – To Rake Or Not To Rake

Many of us are quick to get out the rake and remove all fallen leaves from our pristine lawns, but it may be better for our landscape if we strategically let them be in certain spots. If you’re in a suburban neighborhood or complex that requires you keep your lawn leaf-free, by all means remove them if you must. But if you have more leeway on your property, here are some tips to benefit your soil and save you time in the fall:

  • Leaves not only break down and add nutrients to your lawn and gardens, but also provide important bedding and nesting materials for a variety of wildlife — including beneficial bugs that help keep your yard healthy. But this won’t work if you simply leave full leaves covering your entire lawn. Use a mulching mower (or even a regular mower) to cut your leaves into tiny pieces so they can break down completely before the spring.
  • Broken-down leaves can also be a fantastic mulch for garden beds, especially if you have new perennials or just-hardy varieties like Lavender that may need a little more protection from our harsh winters.
  • If you do decide to clear your property of leaves, instead of hauling them off to the landfill, consider instead adding them to your home compost. You can also keep a pile of leaves right next to your compost to help cover layers of kitchen waste throughout the colder months.

Cutting Down Plants

We’ve talked about this in previous blogs, but there are some plants that should be cut down in fall and some that should be left standing until spring.

Plants that should be cut down in fall:

  • Bearded Iris
  • Bee Balm (Monarda)
  • Phlox
  • Lilies
  • Gaillardia (Blanket Flower)
  • Catmint (Nepeta)
  • Columbine (Aquilegia)
  • Daylily (Hemerocallis)
  • Peony (Paeonia)
  • Salvia
  • Solomon’s Seal (Polygonatum odoratum)
  • Yarrow (Achillea)
  • Hostas
  • Astilbe

Plants that should be left standing until spring:

  • Wildflowers
  • Echinacea (Coneflower) and Rudbeckia (Black Eyed Susan) should be left up until spring to attract and feed birds throughout the winter.
  • Sedum and Ornamental Grasses should be left throughout the winter to add height and interest.
  • Butterfly Weed (Asclepias), Ferns, and Heuchera (Coral Bells) should be left until spring.

Learn more about perennial maintenance in our blog.

Bring Houseplants In Gradually

Before it gets too cold outside, any houseplants that you have brought outdoors for the summer should be gradually brought indoors so they acclimate slowly to the change in environment. If you have a screen porch or sheltered area, move the plants there for several days until you’re ready to bring them indoors for the winter. Give them a dose of organic fertilizer and make sure to pay extra attention to watering in their first month or so back indoors.

Plant Fall Bulbs

As long as you can still work the ground, easy-to-grow bulbs like Daffodils and perennial Tulips are a great addition to existing garden beds, along walkways, and lining fences. They are as easy as “dig, drop, done” and a little bit of effort goes a long way for that gorgeous spring color.

As always, we’re happy to help with any fall maintenance that you don’t have the time to get to yourself. Simply contact us for a quote.