These delightful, cooler days are the perfect time to work in the yard. While scouting your landscape, you will notice that regardless of the amount of mulch you spread throughout your planting beds back in the spring and summer, some weeds and grasses will have propagated there. Now is the time to eliminate the invaders, before they spread — and without breaking much of a sweat.
We have kept up with our yard work as much as possible, but with the extreme heat that lasted into fall, we did get behind a bit. The large datura that displayed such beautiful white flowers stopped blooming in mid-October, and so did the Texas star hibiscus, but these two large plants have not been cut back yet. We will do that job today. In addition, before the first freeze hits, we plan to cut back the Confederate rose and save a few lengths to propagate for the Etowah County Master Gardeners’ spring plant sale.
Planted down the slope along our driveway in a packed planting bed is a couple of ornamental grasses and two stands of Amsonia Hubrechtii (commonly called Arkansas Blue Star). The eye-catching blue star plant is a perennial that thrives in full sun, or partial shade. In late spring and early summer, the plant displays delicate green foliage and lovely, star-shaped blue flowers, but in the fall the flowers are long gone and the delicate foliage morphs into a beautiful golden shade. When the lovely, golden, grass-like plant begins to die, we will cut the foliage down to ground level and relegate the material to the compost pile
We have no plans to plant any new shrubs or trees, but this time of year is a good time to do that as well. When planting a shrub or tree, select the proper spot and then dig a planting hole twice as wide as the plant’s root ball, but make the hole about the same depth as the root ball. Planting now will give the plant several months to become established before next year’s heat and drought descends upon the area.
Now is a good time to divide and transplant perennials and bulb and rhizome plants that have become overcrowded. If you have an excess number of plants and bulbs, share them with a friend or work out a plant swap.
Keeping a large landscape in good condition is not extremely difficult. The main thing to remember is to not get behind in the upkeep. Do a little work each week throughout the growing season, and even during the winter months.