Fall begins tonight! I am sad to see the summer go, especially because it seems we didn’t really have a summer. It was too wet, too rainy, and too cool to count as summer. I feel cheated!
Nevertheless, it is time to prep for fall and winter if you have not already begun! Fall does offer an abundance of color with mums, hardy asters, pansies, and pumpkins.
How to Prep for Fall and Winter
Cut back summer perennials
Remove summer annuals
Mulch plants in well (I suggest really well! Given the winter forecast from the Farmer’s Almanac, I’m even going to buy some hay bales for fall decoration, and when it gets a bit cooler, I’m going to break apart the bales and place the hay over the more tender plants in my yard. Our roses barely survived last winter.)
Add some fall and early winter color: plant mums, hardy asters, and hardy pansies.
Rake up the leaves (when they fall!)
That’s pretty much all we are doing around here for fall and winter prep. I know some people do keep vegetable gardens outside during the winter, but the amount of snow we get makes that a bit untenable for us. I did move in some of my herbs, and I hope they will last the winter. We will see!
Here is a puzzler for all of you! I purchased this plant many, many years ago.
I have no idea what it is! I vaguely recall something about an annual, but I don’t think that can be right because it comes back every year. Granted, it is planted near a hot tub, and the heat from that might protect it.
And this year it is doing something new! It made a flower! This plant has never done this. I vaguely remember thinking it didn’t like water so much, so I held off on the watering. But with all of the rain we’ve had this year, it blossomed. It is kind of hard to see in the picture, but it almost looks like a tiny pineapple.
Isn’t it amazing that plants we’ve had forever can still surprise us?
King Tut grass is an annual up here in zone 5, but I buy it every year because I love this plant! It is an evergreen, so it’s not really a grass, but it certainly looks like a graceful grass.
It can be planted in the ground or in a pot. My father plants his in the yard each year near his front porch. This year, I placed it in a pot with a slight roof overhang above to protect it a bit–I’m so glad I did! With all of the thunderstorms we’ve been having, it could have been damaged this year.
King Tut prefers a sunny to partially sunny area, and it loves water. It does have to be watered every day, unless rain handles it for you.
It can grow quite tall, so it can work to hide unsightly areas around the house.
I have mine planted with a canna, petunias, trailing petunias, and geraniums. Sadly, it won’t winter over in the house, either, but it’s worth the five dollars I spend each summer!
I love this plant! Lily of the Nile, or Agapanthus, is a perennial in some zones, but an annual in my zone. While it is an annual, I cannot resist it!
This plant can be grown from bulbs or seeds, and I think the fragrant flowers are worth planting the bulbs and digging them up for the winter. Alternatively, you could plant your them in pots and bring the pots in during the winter.
About mid-summer to the fall, Lily of the Valley puts on an extravagant show of large blooms!
This plant likes the sun, so be sure to pick a sunny spot for your African Lily!
They do require a bit of work–they need to be fed monthly. But the gorgeous blooms and the scent will pay you back for your hard work!
Lily of the Valley is also attractive to bees and butterflies, who enjoy the nectar.
Last weekend, my dad called to tell me he had a serious groundhog problem. What should he do to make them go away? They were eating all of his pretty flowers and plants.
My mind flashed through many possible scenarios, but the Bill Murray route seemed too extreme. 🙂
The Farmer’s Almanac offers several possible solutions, but these critters are living under my parents’ deck! There was no way to pour ammonia and dish soap into the burrow.
A big dog could do the job–we took over Stuart. But the groundhogs are smart and stayed under the deck.
In the end, my parents have hired a trapper, and there has been some success! All told, there are probably six groundhogs under the deck–parents and babies. The trapper cost $150.00, but it is a more humane way to go about this. Only a few left to go!
Of course, now my father feels sorry for them. #can’twin
How do you deal with groundhogs? What do you think is the best method?