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Tuesday, September 16, 2008

September in the Garden

Okay ladies and gentleman....listen up! Break time is OVER...The fall is creeping up on us and we are WAY behind in our gardening adventures! September is a month of transition for our gardens. They recover from the hot summer weather and slowly they get ready for the cooler fall and in my case, the bitter cold of winter.

Before I begin lecturing you on the ins and outs of preparing for the winter season, I would like to take a moment to thank you all for the sweet comments of concern and friendship that you have been so kind to leave for me. My troubles sadly are not a thing of the past, but thanks to one little lady (and she knows who she is) who gave me a kick in the pants yesterday afternoon, I am back for some blog therapy. Thanks girl. I hope I can keep up with this.
Now...on to something that will get us ready to welcome the cooler weather. (at least here)lol

It is the middle of September, and for some reason, we still have not encountered a killing frost here in Alberta. I think this may just be some what of a miracle for us....but will take what I can get. Now is the time to start thinking about some chores that need to be finished up before the ground starts to freeze.

Here is our September "to-do" list
-stop fertilizing our flowers and shrubs. (yes that means no more fertilizer Fridays)
-bring any house plants that we have had "vacationing" in our outdoor gardens inside
(don't forget to de-bug them first)
-take any houseplants from inside out doors and give them a good rinse to clear the dust...but
only for the warm part of the day!
-clean up any flower beds
-take out any that are finished to preserve the beauty of those that still look nice
-cut back any perennials that are finished
-watch for frost, and take the necessary precautions to protect our tender annuals as long as we
-take all the photos we can to remind us of what we did and did not like when we are planning
our gardens together for next year
-divide and transplant perennials
-remove and store tender bulbs and tubers such as dahlia
-plant any spring bulbs....such as tulips
-soak in our trees and shrubs
-plant any trees and shrubs that we wish to add to our gardens and water them in well
-choose the plants you plant to over winter indoors
-finish gathering the seeds from your garden
-locate the rake for the leaves that will fall
-prepare to fertilize regularly your lawn for the last time this season
This is not a complete list, but it will give us a start to our fall work load.
It seems long and dreary, but once we get started, it will go quite fast...I hope.

Now, since we have outlined a few of these things, I will answer a question that is pressing in many of our minds:

Janie wrote to me:
Glad your back Tootsie, My gardens are a mess too!How do you spruce up your gardens when the summer annuals are looking tired?Have a great one, Janie

Okay, first and foremost, we need to accept that the season is coming to an end. Once we have accomplished this easier than said task, we can do a couple of little things that will help make things look a little less dreary.
I will occasionally pull those things that are looking ever so sad and replace them with a pot of flowering plants that is still looking relatively good. This works in beds that are capable of holding a pot or two of flowers.
If I should end up with an area that there is not enough space for a pot to sit in, I have been known to replace the sad flowers and plants with some empty pots arranged in a creative way, or temporarily put out some garden ornaments.
You could put a few faux (or real) pumpkins in the garden, add an empty wheel barrow filled with fall bounty, or put a lonely bird bath in an area that will need some character.
It is not possible (in my opinion) to revive a planted area that has "finished" or seen better days. But it is possible to spice it up and give it a new look.
It is also possible to run to your local garden center and pick up some potted mums to replace the dead or finished plants and add a little fresh color.

Later this month I hope to be doing just this thing....but I refuse to bring out the fall decor until the frost has finished me off! I just can't let go without a little denial...I am a gardener at heart!

Now, if you have any questions for me, I would love to hear them. My mind has not really been on the garden lately, and things that I had planned to discuss, have slipped away. I plan to show some of the ways I get my garden ready for the -40C that is coming to my garden, so stay tuned.