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GARDENING: Adding colour to your landscaping for the autumn – kechambers

GARDENING: Adding colour to your landscaping for the autumn

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Sep 27, 202247 minutes ago2 minutes read Mums are inexpensive, easy to plant, and deliver a colorful impact for the autumn months.  Sometimes they will last until December.  John DeGroot Mums are inexpensive, easy to plant, and deliver a colorful impact for the autumn months. Sometimes they will last until December. John DeGroot

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Thanks to a warm and sunny September, the annual flowers in our garden and in the containers are still looking remarkably healthy and colourful.

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But it won’t be long. Days are getting shorter, nights are getting cooler, and the containers that normally need daily watering are now wanting water every two or three days. We’ve stopped fertilizing a month ago.

Cheryl and I have always been in the habit of cleaning out the garden on Thanksgiving weekend, and we might just repeat the habit as usual despite the garden looking pretty fine. We’ll empty the pots of their flowers, dead heads or cut down the spent perennials, and toss all the debris in a compost heap.

For some reason, removing all the flowers, raking up leaves and getting the garden ready for winter always makes our backyard landscape look much better. Sterile, but better.

Once the garden is clean, we will plant fall bulbs, an easy job that will pay off with bright spring flowers. I usually plant tulips, but this fall I plan to add clusters of daffodils in random places for a naturalized effect.

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Other October chores we will tackle include adding compost or manure into the flower beds, a job we’d rather do in fall than spring. We will prune back the butterfly bush. And my favorite job is scurrying up the ladder to empty spruce needles out of the eavestroughs.

For a splash of fall colour, we will plant garden mums in a few containers and arrange them near the front door. Mums are inexpensive, easy to plant, and deliver a colorful impact. Cheryl and I always wait with mums until October because mums that are bought earlier don’t last as long.

The trick with mums is to water faithfully even though they don’t appear to need it. With good care, mums will remain showy through October, November and sometimes into December.

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Mums are perennials and need not be tossed after their flowers fade. If you want Mums to return to flower next spring, plan them in the ground early, feed with root boosting fertilizer and water regularly. For extra insurance, mulch around their roots with straw, leaves, compost or mulch.

For more fall decor in the garden, ornamental kale or ornamental cabbage, with its heavily textured foliage is hard to beat. Both can withstand early frosts and will provide impact until December. Fall asters are long lasting, easy care, and hardy, offering a splash of blue colour. Ornamental grasses are winners in the garden because of their distinctive texture and seed heads that move even when there is no breeze.

If tradition is your thing, buy a bale of straw and set it at the base of the lamppost or house pillar. Get friendly with a farmer and find a cluster of dried corn stalks. Add a few pumpkins and gourds and you’ve created an instant thanksgiving theme.

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