Bailey Arboretum Horticultural Notes: September 2015


“Summer passes and one remembers one’s exuberance” Lauren DeStefano


Season Change: 75% of September is summer, so the summer activities continue with the renewed energy of cooler temperatures, softer sun and shorter days.

Assess Your Garden Now, Not As A Memory. The five Fs of gardening: flowers, fragrance, foliage, fruit, and form. Take each issue and look at the garden: trees, shrubs, annuals, perennials. Do all five appear and appeal? Not too late to correct.

Trees: Trees remain so important to our lifestyle. They have kept us cool this summer, we seek shade outside and appreciate the lowering energy costs as trees shade our roofs. Recent tree accidents remind us that we need to watch out for older trees BUT If you remove them, plant new trees. Otherwise, garden equilibrium changes.

Arboretum: “Happy the man who plants an arboretum and sees it grow to maturity” You do not have to plant a seed like Johnny Appleseed or Frank Bailey, but to plant a seedling or young tree and note the joy when you see the first flower!! Happiness

Compost and Mulch: Mulch has been the savior of my garden during this drought. Try a small experiment in this very dry season. Dig up a small clump of grass with some soil (soil sample 1); remove some mulch or compost and dig up the soil underneath (soil sample 2). Which clump of soil has more moisture?

Perennials: Divide plants to keep some in check, give room to others, balance color and height. Cut back climbing roses. Perennial weeds can be conquered now.

Lawns: Time for fall maintenance, use fertilizers high in potassium (not nitrogen), time to scarify (dethatching) and aerate (perforating) the lawn. Time to seed.

 Ponds and water features: Keep water level up, keep leaf free, and divide water lilies.

Annuals: Keep the color going, if plants lag replace with fall options, zinnias, marigolds, dahlias, asters (perennial) and of course the mums. Blooming flowers bring out bees, birds and butterflies.

Hardscape: Last chance to shore up and paint outdoor furniture and decoration.

Vegetables: Harvests peek   Watch ripening of grapes and berries and harvest before birds find them.  Tomatoes like cool, wet days to ripen and mulch covered roots.

Shrubs and Trees: Wait for cool weather to transplant trees and shrubs, Water them constantly and thoroughly. Final hedge trim.

Autumn Begins September 23: Start the fall season. Celebrate with a local apple pie!