Monthly Archives: September 2010

Fall is a great time for planting.

Sedum spectabile 'Brilliant'

Perennials and shrubs have a much easier time getting established if planted now.  We have ample time until the first frost to transplant, divide and put new plants in the ground.  The warm soil and cooler days, promote faster root development.  Also, at this time of the year, the product of photosynthesis is being translocated down towards the root system in preparation for winter and dormancy, this facilitates  root development for new plants.  We also tend to have a bit more rain in fall, at least more that in the last couple of months,  we hope!

Peonies, Irises and all kinds of bulbs should be planted now.  Peonies specially are fuzzy about being moved in spring so you will want to get them in the ground now.  You should also plant bulbs in pots now for forcing indoors in time for the holidays.

I like to take advantage of the local nursery plant sales and pick up as many good buys as I can.  Last year I was still planting in early November with great success.  Everything I put in the ground made it through the winter and seemed to have gotten a leg up over all other plants I put in the spring.

Corydalis sbibmienensis 'Berry Exciting'

Here is a great little find.  This little Corydalis is loaded with delicate purple flowers I planted it only three weeks ago… a real gem!

One of the most delightful things about a garden is the anticipation it provides. ~W.E. Johns, The Passing Show

Gardening in the Midst of a Drought.

It has been very dry in the last couple of months and therefore the challenge is to keep our plants alive.  The little rain we did have was not enough to really penetrate the soil before most of it evaporated.  Many clients and friends have called asking  how to handle the watering. My recommendations always are:

Water your most valuable plants first, newly planted trees and shrubs need a weekly watering of at least 1 gallon per square foot of root zone per week.  Perennials that are yet to be established are next in importance and last in the list of priority are annuals and grass.  Grass tends to go dormant during hot dry spells, it looks yellow and brittle but rarely dies outright.  It is up to you if you want to sacrifice larger beds of annuals, in lieu of random pots by your door and back patio.

Water each plant with a hose without a sprayer directly at the root of the plant, a slow drip works best, or lay soaker hoses around your border.  Investing in soaker hoses in spring, then laying the mulch directly over the hose saves on time and water as you can deliver water were needed and the mulch prevents moisture from evaporating and helps keep the soil moist longer.

Water in the morning or evening The benefit of watering before it gets too warm is that the plant has the chance to hydrate before the sun is too hot and therefore more able to withstand hot sun.  When watering in the evening I try to avoid getting the foliage wet to avoid decease.

It is certainly a challenge to survive this weather without loosing some of our valuable plants,  if I do not get to the garden for anything else, watering is probably the most important chore to keep up.  Good luck!

Water is life’s mater and matrix, mother and medium. There is no life without water.”  Albert Szent-Gyorgyi quotes (Hungarian Biochemist, 1937 Nobel Prize for Medicine, 18931986)