Whistling Gardener Blog

"Yikes, my Dogwood is Blooming and other Random Thoughts," by the Whistling Gardener

Mixing and Matching in containers is so much fun! Photo courtesy of Sunnyside Nursery.

Several customers have shared with me recently that some plants in their yards are all of a sudden blooming out of season and they want to know why and if they should be concerned. It is not uncommon for plants to sport a few blooms in the fall and it is usually caused by the simple fact that fall weather and day lengths are similar to spring.

"Putting the garden to bed," by the Whistling Gardener

Halloween is just around the corner. Photo courtesy of Sunnyside Nursery.

First off let me say that I don’t like the expression “Putting the garden to bed” because it sounds so final. The fact is that there are still plants out there that are wide awake and believe it or not, there are some plants that react to winter with renewed energy. But there are some specific tasks that we can do to prepare for the winter.

"My October To Do List," by the Whistling Gardener

Have a seat with some sedums.  Photo courtesy of Sunnyside Nursery.

It is official. As of the 23rd of September, the days are now shorter than the nights and will continue to be so for the next six months.

While that might sound depressing to us, the fact is that Mother Nature doesn’t seem to be bothered by it at all. In fact, there are actually plants that seem to wake up in the winter; bloom and set fruit while the rest of us are hunkered down in our homes. Go figure!

"Creating fall and winter interest in the garden," by the Whistling Gardener

Pansies and violas at Sunnyside Nursery in Marysville. Photo courtesy of Sunnyside Nursery.

For anyone who has followed the Whistling Gardener's columns over the years, you will recognize the following mantra: “If you want year ‘round interest in your garden, you need to go to the garden center once a month and buy something that looks interesting.”

You don’t have to spend a boat load of money, just buy something that catches your eye. If you do this every month, for twelve months, you will have year ‘round interest. It is that simple!

"Fall lawn restoration/installation; If you snooze, you lose," by the Whistling Gardener

Steve Smith preparing his yard for a new lawn. Photo courtesy of Sunnyside Nursery.

Make no mistake, September is by far the best month of the year to plant a new lawn or restore an old one, especially this year.

If you are thinking that you would like to put some new life into your lawn, you need to get with the program while the soils are still workable and warm enough to germinate the seed.

"Time to replant containers for winter interest," by the Whistling Gardener

Planting winter containers requires a paradigm shift. Instead of thinking of flowers as our source of color, we need to shift our focus to colors and textures of foliage. Photo courtesy of Sunnyside Nursery.

It’s always a dilemma this time of year. It’s time to do our fall planting and get ready for winter but the flowerpots and beds are still looking great. In an effort to get our money’s worth out of our summer plantings, we nurse our geraniums and petunias along well into October. But by waiting so long to replant, we miss the opportunity to compose new plantings that will look interesting all winter long and into the spring.