Fall Is For Planting

I can see that I am going to have to watch this new WordPress format carefully. In addition to being really finicky about posting in advance, its autocorrect is horrific. I will tell it what I want, and it will go back and auto correct over me a second time. So if my posts seem crazy, I am still working the bugs out on my tablet.

For those of us in the northern hemisphere, days are growing shorter, even if it hasn’t yet begun to cool down where you are.

With any luck, there has also been moisture where you are. That makes autumn the perfect time to plant. Obviously I am not talking about planting annuals, although in many places cool season annuals like pansies can over winter right into next spring.

Similarly ornamental cabbage and kale are hardy enough to survive as decorative plantings until it is time to replace them with warm season annuals.

I don’t live in such a place, but I can still plant many things in autumn for next season. One of the things that I tell people is to think about soil almost like a body of water. You know how a lake or the ocean is slow to warm in the spring, but in September the temperature of the water is still perfect for swimming.

The same is true for soil. Our garden soils are also slow to warm in spring as well so plants put into them in spring get a slow start.

But plants put in now, even though they will be going dormant shortly, are getting put into warm soil. There is less adjustment for them (provided you remember to water).

So it’s a great time to plant perennials, trees (if you can find the variety that you want) and shrubs. Again, you must remember to water, if nature isn’t doing it for you, until your ground freezes. Here, in my cool part of the world, that’s usually late November or early December.

On Monday we’ll talk a bit about spring flowering bulbs–which also must be planted now.

Wordless Wednesday

hydrangea flowers

Those long-time readers have seen me write about breeders working on new varieties all the time. Here’ the perfect example right in my own yard and I literally stumbled over it while I was taking the dog in from our walk one morning last week.

I have the typical old-fashioned late-blooming hydrangea paniculata grandiflora–the “peegee” hydrangeas, as they are known for short. ┬áMine is just coming into bloom now, although some in my neighborhood that get more sun than mine do have been in bloom for a little longer.

I adore these and planned my wedding around their creamy white blooms. They fade to a gentle rose color and dry beautifully.

This is a much newer variety from Proven Winners called Bobo. Unlike the old-fashioned variety, which can literally grown into a small tree if not whacked back with a heavy hand, Bobo stays a mannerly 3-4′. But look at the size of the flower head on this small shrub! It’s twice the size of the older variety!

Bobo is the flower on the right in the above photo. My old-fashioned PeeGee flower is on the left, for comparison sake.

That’s what I mean when I say the breeders are “doing” work. They are making compact shrubs for modern gardens that still pack a lot of bloom into every plant. How great is that?!