It's not too late to do these garden tasks... if your weather is like ours, we are having gorgeous sunny days with crisp fall mornings and a smattering of frost.
MAKE A MAP: label all plants so when Spring comes, you will remember what is where
KEEP A JOURNAL: Decide what worked and what didn’t; where you bought it, if there was a guarantee, keep the receipt..(see more about journals)
DIVIDE PERENNIALS: Hosta, Phlox, Lilies, Siberian Iris
MOVE PLANTS: the only time to move clematis & honeysuckle - cut back by half if large. (if you are moving a rose ...)
PLANT: Icicle Pansies…. Last to go in Fall, first to come up in Spring
PLANT SEEDS: like Poppies and Cosmos - often will come up in Spring if spread in Fall
PLANT: Garlic in sun with manure and mulch…. Should be ready when cherry tomatoes are.
PLANT: Evergreen trees and shrubs
WATER: all trees and shrubs well up to ground freeze. Their roots use water all winter
As you know, there is a difference between a frost and a ground freeze.
Hill up your roses after the first GROUND FREEZE. They need that hard frost to send all the nutrients back to the root. It could be mid-November - If you hill them up too soon, the warmth of the sun, and the early morning frost, will create a cozy environment for wee critters, and root rot. So wait.
CLEAN UP GARDEN: Leave your plants to cut back until Spring except for:
HOSTA, PEONIES, LILIES & OTHER FLESHY PLANTS
Clean up all fallen, diseased leaves and put them in the garbage, not the compost as that will spread any disease or bacteria
Trim any dead, broken or diseased branches from shrubs or plants.
After the Hosta turn to mush, cut them back and clean them up. If you leave the mushy leaves on the ground, it is a great place for slugs.
NO BURLAP WRAPS ON SHRUBS: if you are worried about breakage from wind, then surround them with stakes and fasten the burlap to the stakes so the burlap does not touch the shrub tissue which will then coat with snow and ice.
LEAVE THESE STANDING.....
Grasses, Echinacea (and those with seed heads for the wee birds), Hydrangeas, Russian Sage, Lavender, and other perennials with woody or strong stems. You many like your garden "tidy" in the fall, but think like a plant... they need all the help they can get with nutrients and better to use what they have than having to add fertilizers all season.
COMPOSTING: Any time is a good time, but especially in Fall. It is good insulation and will sink into the ground with the fall and spring rains. (see also SOIL)
MULCH: always a good idea. Mulch as soon as the ground freezes. Any earlier and some unwanted guests will bed down for the winter…. Moles and mice.
It keeps the cold in the ground so that fluctuating temperatures are moderated protecting tender roots from freezing during cold snaps and thawing in mild spells… keeps the ground in a dormancy state.
The first year, add about 3 inches… second year, an inch will do. Hemlock will decompose, as will cedar.
Large chips will harbour unwanted insects and slugs.
AND LAST, BUT NOT LEAST...
Dig up tender bulbs (Dahlia, Agapanthus, Acidanthera etc),place in paper bag and store in dark, dry place.
Wash, dry, sharpen and oil all tools before putting them away. Fill wheelbarrow with soap and water…. Washes the barrow too.
Turn off water, drain hoses and store