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Tucking the Garden in

"I appreciate the misunderstanding I have had with Nature over my perennial border. I think it is a flower garden; she thinks it is a meadow lacking grass, and tries to correct the error." --Sara Stein

I am always taken aback in the fall when I suddenly notice my garden going to seed. It seems as though just last week I was waiting patiently for things to bloom. This morning, looking out the window, I noticed that it is almost time to get the garden ready for a long winter’s nap.

I like to get leaves cut down on most of my plants before the leaves start to fall; it makes fall and spring clean ups that much easier. It also helps that I can see newly volunteered weeds emerging, allowing me the opportunity to pull them before they get too comfortable. In my more formal gardens I tend to cut most everything down; though I do leave some Black Eyed Susan’s, Purple Cone Flower and False Sunflower stalks to keep the birds happy in the winter. The gardens on the perimeter I often don’t bother cutting back since they mostly consist of Hostas and Daylilies, the remnants of which look messy but are actually great for impeding weeds. In the spring it is easy enough to rake up the remnants.

Once I have the gardens cleared out, it will be time to haunt my favorite local garden centers looking for clearance items to enhance my gardens. I often find terrific deals on plants and shrubs this time of year. We still have at least six weeks before a hard frost comes along so there will be plenty of time to get new plants hardened in.

Now is the perfect time to split up some of my Irises and Daylilies and plant a pile of bulbs that a friend gave me a bit ago. Every three or four years I need to thin out some of the Daylilies, as they get to be too big for the spots that they are in. I don’t often thin out the Irises since I find that it can take a year for them to recover, leaving me with sad looking plants. I will pull a few of the outer corms to plant or as gifts for friends that want them.

Once I have completed all of the things on my list I think I will be ready for a few long lazy Sundays with nothing to do but cook read and watch football.

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