A GROWING CONCERN: Arduous tasks abound in autumn

I KNOW THAT in the previous weeks, I have loaded you up with garden chores, but that’s because I, too, have been busy.

And boy, if I thought things were hectic before, now it is frantic.

I am as busy now as I was in May, but that just makes sense.

Autumn is a time of arduous chores, as many outside items demand your attention.

Your ornamentals are crashing all around you, so deadheading along with leaf stripping is a major task.

Do this weekly, as the No. 1 killer (or severe torture) of your perennial garden is premature winterizing.

Our weather is so mild here on the Olympic Peninsula that many plants take several months to die and go dormant, as opposed to several weeks.

Perennials need to go dormant naturally, not by your pruners.

Take your time. It is much better for the plant.

As it dies back, only take those leaves that are dead or visibly dying. Then come back a week or two later and remove more.

This also is a busy time because we are in the last days of great weather.

Soon, the monsoon drizzle will begin, so this is the time to give the last big push for finishing jobs.

I am booked to do many garden jobs, and I do not want to walk around in the mud.

The weather and temperatures are both perfect to carry rock and gravel around, as well as finish up the plantings.

Planting right now is perfect for many leafy things.

Almost all perennial plants, those living three or four more years, go through tremendous root development in the next few months.

Our mild weather and natural rainfall combine to create ideal conditions.

Plants placed in the ground now root extremely well, which in turn causes that plant to grow very nicely next spring.

Don’t forget that we have the best weather in all of America to garden in.

And if this is the best spot to pursue horticulture, then spring bulbs are the best plant to dabble in.

They adore our conditions, and October and November are the months to slave away.

Planting bulbs is a laborious endeavor, but getting the soil worked correctly, and planting them deep enough is crucial.

It is also crucial that you apply bone meals and water in well.

It just keeps getting busier, so please remember that I am eagerly awaiting your questions on bulbs or anything else plant-related, so send questions to me at the address below.

Now get to work.

________

Andrew May is an ornamental horticulturist who dreams of having Clallam and Jefferson counties nationally recognized as “Flower Peninsula USA.” Send him questions c/o Peninsula Daily News, P.O. Box 1330, Port Angeles, WA 98362, or email news@peninsula dailynews.com (subject line: Andrew May).

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