The cooler temperatures and rain is one of the reasons why there is no better time than right now to update your garden landscape. Your garden can look its very best this fall and next Spring with a few timely garden chores. Best of all, all of the nurseries are restocking their inventories with wonderful fresh plants from California and Oregon, and the greenhouses are stocked with fresh and fragrant pansies and the offers from bulb companies abound. 

Good gardeners understand that timing is everything with gardening – and this month is the critical month to nail timing! Beautiful lawns of lush rye and fescue, planters filled with colorful pansies, tulips and daffodils in all their glory and trees filled with spring flowers – plan for all of this now – and get planting if you haven’t already done so.

Top Things to do in October

• Enjoy the best weather of the year. 

• Purchase fresh pinon wood and fire up your outdoor fireplace, fire pit or chimenea – nothing smells better in the Fall. 

• If you want dark green grass during the fall, early winter and early spring – and have a Bermuda grass lawn, scalp and over seed with a blend of rye and fescue this month for best results. 

• Before you remove your summer annuals – walk through your gardens and assess the winners and losers – make a mental note, take a picture, or jot this down in your garden journal. 

• Add soil conditioning mulches to your flower beds before planting fresh pansies. 

• Do think about color combinations with your pansies…and the color of your tulips. Making the right color combinations and pairings will make a huge impact next Spring. 

• Last call for bulb orders and plant as they arrive. Remember the “early, middle, late” mantra when ordering. And think sweeping drifts, not tulips planted in one-by-one – this is one of those things where more is definitely better. 

• Pay special attention to areas to cleanup around peonies, roses and other flowers that are prone to fungal diseases; don’t leave any debris in place. 

• Don’t completely deadhead faded perennials, biennials and annuals if you want to collect seed (non-hybrids only) or wish to let them self-sow for next year’s show. Nicotiana, poppies, larkspur, and many others fall into this leave-alone group; some plants must be left in place or seeds shaken around during cleanup to insure the next generation. Plants with showy or bird-friendly seed heads, like coneflowers, also get a stay of execution. Sow seeds of poppies, larkspur and cosmos – this will add a cutting garden dimension to your garden next year. 

• Continue to enjoy the hummingbirds and butterflies - your garden should be a swarming with them.

Dress your house with Fall décor.

Love this tone-on-tone color scheme.

Love white pumpkins! 

Check out my other Autumnal pins on my Pinterest Boards. 

Happy Halloween! 

Happy Gardening -

All My Best -

It never ceases to amaze me how plants almost immediately react to cooler / less humid weather. They perk up almost overnight as night time temps get back into the 60’s instead of the 80‘s. A fresh pruning of your annual flowers and most perennials with a good drink of water, and milder temperatures make a big difference in how your plants will look. 

The September “things to do” list is following a hot and dry summer in nearly every state. Watering your plants is the most important thing you can do to keep them alive and thriving. Knowing we may have a dry winter, it’s very important to continue to water through the fall months. My roses, perennials and even my trees have put on new fresh growth as the night time temperatures have cooled and I have continued to swelter away as provide them with necessary hydration.

Potting Shed envy – Guilty! 

Top Things to do in September

• Peak planting and dividing time is upon us; 

• Assess your garden areas - take notes of what worked and didn’t. Mark areas that would have been easier to maintain with groundcovers or different shrubs. 

• Be sure to water trees and shrubs now through hard frost, so that they enter dormancy in a well-hydrated state. Evergreens are particularly vulnerable to desiccation and winter burn if not well watered before the cold and winds set in. 

• Stop feeding woody plants. 

• Be on the lookout for dead, damaged, or diseased wood in trees and shrubs and remove those limbs, this is also a good time to remove suckers and water sprouts. No more hard pruning until later in the year…don’t want to risk encouraging regrowth. 

• Take a break from daily container watering! 

• Turn back the sprinkler a few notches….a little less water is okay now. 

• Do some garden clean-up – make your garden look like July and August were not that hot! 

• Continue to support your roses and climbing vines. 

• If you are a true gardener – you have already scouted out the nurseries for some new provisions….it’s a great time to replace casualties of the summer weather / and long vacations away from your garden. 

• Enjoy the hummingbirds and butterflies - your garden should be a swarming with them. 

• Place your tulip and spring bulb order for best selection – please don’t procrastinate – early bird gets the worm!

Cutting back Purple Cone flower in July provides for new flowers in September. Don’t forget to spread the seeds in these seed heads – hundreds of seeds in every flower. Just toss them into the soil below.

Purple Angelonia has bloomed all summer – I cut it back last month and it’s putting on fresh new flowers.

My favorite climbing rose – Abraham Darby – blooming again after rains and cooler weather. More blossoms to come through December as the weather cools down – what a treat to have repeat bloomers in the garden.

A beautiful example of crepe myrtles that have been pruned properly – they have bloomed since early June.

Happy Gardening -

All My Best -

Rose Rosette….sad for any of us who love to incorporate roses into our gardens as there is possibly a catastrophic disease spreading throughout America attacking old and new roses alike.

Rose rosette disease is a viral rose disease spread by a tiny insect. The virus is specific to roses with Rosa multiflora being its primary host. 

Symptoms of the disease –

• The plant's leaves will turn red in an irregular pattern. Eventually they will become deformed and brittle. 

• Many deep red, succulent new shoots will suddenly emerge. 

• The plant will be much more frost tender. 

Rosa multiflora being the rose most vulnerable to this disease, will exhibit the most severe symptoms. Other rose varieties will most often exhibit thickened stems displaying many more thorns than usual when infected with the virus. 

The virus is spread in 2 ways: 

• By grafting.

• And by a wingless mite that blows about on the wind. 

The nearly invisible eriophyid mite will infect new plants between May and mid July in the U.S.

What to Do If Your Rose is Infected -

• Shovel prune it 

• There is no cure for this virus. The infection will kill a small rose bush within 2 years. A large rose may survive for as long as five years. But if you allow an infected plant to remain in your garden you risk the virus spreading to your healthy roses. 

• There is no treatment but you can prevent your roses from becoming infected in the following ways: 

o Plant cultivated rose bushes as far from known stands of multiflora as possible 

o Treat the plants with Sevin, insecticidal soap or horticultural oil sprays weekly during the summer months to control the mites that spread rose rosette. 

Top Things to do in August 

• Pray that Rose Rosette does not come to your garden. 

• Water – of course! 

• Move pots and baskets to the shade to give them a break from the sun and heat. 

• Cutback things that have lots of brown leaves…like spirea or perennials…remove dead plants – your beds and pots will look better. 

• Drive around and look at gardens that are performing well in these extreme conditions. 

• Look at how your irrigation system is performing – you may want to modify coverage this fall.

• Look forward to September – and the break in the “heat dome”.

Happy Gardening -

All My Best -

So now it’s here, the dreaded heat that begins well before noon and lasts until midnight! July and August are the “acid test” for your garden and will test your personal commitment in keeping your garden going and your own temperature cool. 

July and August are good times to really evaluate your plantings and overall design, and decide if any changes or editing need to take place – and if so September is just around the corner. 

Succulents are a plant species that have been used for years in Europe and in warmer climates of the U.S. They have finally been popularized and are now available even at nurseries in Lowe’s and Home Depot. My succulents are thriving in this hottest weather of the year, and you can see my favorites and why I like them so much. 
Image Source: Paradise Express Blog 

Top Things to do in July

• Adequate water is now a must – but please still pay attention to the weather. 
 • Water your containers every morning…this can be a must to get them through the day. 
• Adjustments to your automatic sprinkler system may be needed – remember to water early in the day – not at night. 
• If you do need to water during the heat of the day – be careful not to get water on the plant foliage. 
I hand water newer plantings like roses and some perennials if needed. 
• Evaluate your garden – do you have the right plant in the right spot? • Are your petunias or geraniums looking bad in your containers – you can still refresh your containers with heat loving plants like Angelonia, Purslane, lantana and blue daze. 
• Continue to dead head your annuals and perennials – they will reward you with fresh blossoms – especially Nepata, Penta, and roses. 
• Continue to support your roses and climbing vines – they are still putting on new growth even if they aren’t blooming…this fall you will understand why you did this. 
 • In addition to dead heading your cone flowers – be sure to take the seed heads and cut them up and sprinkle the seeds around your existing plants – there are literally several hundred seeds in each head of a cone flower! 

Best of the Season 

• Crepe Myrtle, Vitex (Texas Lilac), carpet and landscape roses 
• Bermuda Grass – bring the heat on! 
• All Ornamental Grasses – flower plumes are emerging 
• Perennials –Perovskia (Russian Sage) Cone Flowers, Hosta 
• Annuals – Periwinkle, purslane, penta, lantana, dusty miller, blue daze scaveola
Image Source: RieFlections Flickr

Tri-Color Sedum – I love to use this in any succulent pairing but also as spiller in my boxwood pots. 
Image Source: Monrovia

Blue Spruce Sedum – love this blue sedum it looks great when paired with anything yellow or gold. 

Image Source: ECGrowers
Silver Mound Artemesia – one of my favorite drought tolerant plants – also use this as an edging border in my beds and as a spiller in all of my containers. 
Image Source: Peace Tree Farm

Angelina Sedum – love this chartreuse colored sedum – I use it in pots for a year round element. 
Image Source: American Meadows

Silver Mound Artemesia – a great and hardy drought-tolerant perennial – looks as good as a plant border as a spiller in containers.
Image Source: Pinterest

Image Source: Midwest Living

Happy Gardening -

All My Best -

I have been lucky this month to spend time in France – we flew into Paris and spent a couple of days there before moving to the Loire Valley. While in Paris we took the train to Vernon which is just a hop and a skip or actually a short taxi ride to Giverney. This has been on my bucket list long before Jack and Morgan coined the phrase. We had glorious weather and it was fun to share it with the 4 friends that were with us on the trip.

The gardens were much bigger than I thought they would be.

The anticipation just before we walked through the gate was killing me!

Claude Monet’s home looked just like I had thought it would… that pink stucco and green shutters are iconic.

Monet became a master gardener over the years…but his original plantings were purely subject matter for his art.

View of the gardens from the second story master bedroom.

I must get my color palette from Monet – as these are my favorite colors for garden plantings.

How lucky could our timing be? The wisteria on the green bridge was at peak bloom.

The view of the lily pond from his home.

The lily pond was teaming with frogs jumping from lily pad to lily pad!

Top Things to do in June – 

• Now is the time to really start paying attention to the watering part of your job as gardener in tune with your garden. The summer heat comes on strong in June, and hand watering your newer plantings, e.g. roses, will pay off. 

• Remember to shut your sprinkler off if you receive heavy rains - we can hope this happens.

• Check out varieties of perennials at the nurseries you might not see in the spring months – verbascum, agastache, and rudbeckia – find a spot for them – they are wonderful in any garden.

• Dead head your roses, petunias, verbena, geraniums, and penta – they will reward you with fresh blossoms. 

• Continue to support your roses and climbing vines – they will continue to provide vigorous growth through the summer months 

• Container plantings will benefit from weekly feedings of water soluable fertilizer like Miracle Grow.

Happy Gardening -

All My Best -