Bailey Arboretum Horticultural Notes: October 2015

Ah, September: You are the doorway to the season that awakens my soul…but I confess that I only love you because you are a prelude to my beloved October.

Peggy T. Horton

The Drought: The drought seems over but, the results will last. Lawns will regreen, annuals can be replaced, perennials will reemerge but the trees! Stressed trees (e.g. Dogwoods) are now more susceptible to disease. Keep a watch out.

Autumn Watering: Do not close up the sprinkler systems for the season. Trees and shrubs will continue to need water. Most shrubs and trees will do well with good mulch and adequate water. Any newly planted shrubs, trees or perennials will need water even after the frost.

Turf: Continue scarifying/raking, aerating/spiking, top dressing, and flattening (fill in any indentations) the lawns. Heavily reseed. Continue to mow.

Garden Bare Patches: Dig up empty spots in the garden, expose larvae and grubs for birds to eat, and get air into the soil. Eventually cover the patches with mulch to prevent erosion and augment the soil.

Chic Garden Color Now: Get away from the golds, oranges of mums. For something stylish, use purple asters (not used enough) and red annuals (celosia?). 

Feeling Brave: Time to consider well-rotted manure in vegetable and flower areas for over wintering. If it is rotted the odor is indiscernible and the nutrients remain.

Sprinkler System: Found your sprinkler system was not efficient during the drought? Look into installing multiple garden taps placed throughout the property connected to separate computers. Set them to work in rotation to keep up the water pressure.

Vegetable Garden: Clean up spent crops, plant a quick salad crop, remove shading leaves and slip wood under ripening veggies to prevent rot. Transplant herbs (forget basil and mint) into pots for indoor care, (parsley will sulk for a few days but then perk). 

Garden Design: As the garden closes down reevaluate garden layout. Use the triangle. We are always told to plant in threes, intertwined triangles work beautifully.

Autumn Plants: Try “Edo Shibori” bush clover Lespedeza thumbergii,  a bee attractor, beautiful at close range, Vitas Vinifera, Sweet Lace patio grape vine, bred to grow in cramped containers, and white autumn Crocus, Colchicum speciosum ‘Album’.

Autumn Pots: Minus the mums: Ideas; dwarf evergreens, ornamental pepper, heucheras of gem colored leaves, bergenia, grasses, lettuces and pansies.