Fall Planting

  • Difficulty Rating: Beginner
Fall Planting

Although warm weather days may fool us, the seasons are changing as the earth tilts on its axis away from the sun. In fact, it’s time to clean up the summer vegetable garden, picking the last of the green tomatoes and peppers and making something delicious with them like pickles or frying them.

Then, get set to create your fall vegetable garden, or if not a full patch, at least plant some seeds of lettuce, spinach, chard and kale. All are nutritious greens you’ll savor in salads or soups when winter winds blow. Annuals should also be pulled to make space for cool weather flowers like pansies and violas, asters and mums.

September is a good time to deadhead or cut back any perennials you don’t want to go to seed. For example, Rudbeckia hirta and fulgida (black-eyed Susans) are notorious for spreading throughout a garden unless deadheaded. However, if you want wildflowers everywhere, leave their seed heads for the birds to munch throughout winter. In early September, I also deadhead my roses one last time. One of my favorite pruners for this job is the PowerGear® Large Bypass Pruner because the built-in gears help with hand strain. With over ninety rose bushes, you can just imagine how tired my hands get without a little help.

It’s the season to order bulbs, and I placed my first order last week. Tulips, other than the small species type, don’t really like Oklahoma’s hot dry summers and bizarre winter weather, so I treat most of the bigger ones as very pretty annuals. I sit and plan various color schemes for my front garden, with last year’s being tulips, ‘Pink Diamond’ and ‘Queen of Night,’ under planted with ‘Peppermint’ Muscari and dark purple and orange violas. It was stunning, but I think my favorite combo thus far was the year I planted the front garden in orange and black violas with orange ‘Prinses Irene’ and ‘Purple Prince’ tulips. Interspersed between were clumps of white and yellow daffodils with orange trumpets like Narcissus ‘Barrett Browning’ or the lighter apricot of N. ‘Full Throttle.’ I always attempt something different every spring to delight my relatives on Easter. I know, it seems strange to think about spring just as the leaves are turning brilliant shades of orange, red and yellow, but now is the time to order bulbs before all of your favorites are sold out. However, don’t plant them until Thanksgiving after we’ve had a few freezes.

Now, close your eyes, and just imagine your garden full of delicate blooms swaying in the breeze. The air is gentle on your face, and the sun spreads its rays over all like a warm blanket. Spring always comes, but to create a garden full of spring blooms takes planning. What is stopping you?