Now is the time for a ‘Fall Refresh’ | THE COMPLEAT HOME GARDENER

September is the month to clear away the old, the weary and sad and refresh the garden with plants that celebrate the change of seasons.

The first week of September is time for a second spring. Fall Refresh is when gardens and gardeners prepare for the change of seasons and with a new look and a fresh start.

September is the month to clear away the old, the weary and sad and refresh the garden with plants that celebrate the change of seasons. Here’s how to get started:

What to plant now?

Just about everything: Roses, trees, shrubs, groundcovers and many perennials. The cooler nights will encourage autumn planted trees and shrubs to send down roots towards the soil, still warm from the summer sun. This means your plant investments will be well tucked in beneath a protective blanket of mulch before the first hard freeze of winter sets in.

What’s the Good News for Dirt Cheap Gardeners?

Local nurseries have fantastic plant sales in the fall. There is nothing wrong with the nursery stock left over from a summer of selling but retailers do not want to care for too many plants over the winter season so they offer deep discounts.

In Western Washington our autumn season is mild and long so nurseries will restock in September with fresh plants grown especially for fall plant sales. You can snag great deals on trees, shrubs and even perennials.

What are the best plants for fall color?

When it comes to trees and shrubs look for shrubs such as the burning bush (Euonymus alatus ‘compacta’ ) with brilliant orange leaves or maples that turn gold and crimson. You can also find shrubs with autumn berries and rose plants that product fat, red, seed pods called rose hips for winter long color.

Clematis such as Sweet Autumn Clematis (Clematis paniculata) is a fast grower with pure white, fragrant blooms. My personal favorite for fall color are the sun tolerant pee gee hydrangeas. Creamy, pointed blooms turn pink then russet as fall progresses.

All these fall favorites can be found at nurseries now and do best when added to the garden in the fall.

Are there any plants that should not be pruned in fall?

Yes! Pruning always stimulates new growth so don’t get snippy with roses or other tender shrubs in the fall or they could be damaged when an early frost hits. Hardy fuchsias, many evergreens, jasmine and some other flowering vines should not be pruned until late spring.  For more detailed pruning tips sign up for a class on fall garden care.

What is Fall Magic?

All the tips and tricks that designers use that take a landscape from a summer look to a warm autumn display are called “magic” because the change of colors can be so quick and dramatic.

One example is to pull out a few summer weary annuals from your porch pots. Insert a potted mum, aster or winter pansy in the same position – no need to change the potting soil or add fertilizer. Next add a few mini pumpkins to sit on top of the soil or arrange corn stalks or larger pumpkins on the porch. Display your dried hydrangeas or winter squash in a wheelbarrow or atop of bale of hay.

Your home is now ready for fall – like magic.

More in Life

Photo courtesy of Kelsie Gardner
                                Kelsie and her mom participating in a previous Teal and Toe walk.
Girl Scout raises ovarian cancer awareness and receives Gold Award

The Renton local received her Gold Award last year for her efforts

Summer bloomers can’t handle our winter weather

Cut back your summer-blooming annuals or just pull them and toss into the compost pile

Illustrations by Rob McClurkan
Dr. Universe explains wasabi

Ask Dr. Universe is a science-education column from Washington State University.

You’ll want to read ‘Dracul’ with the lights on

It was just a little scratch. You wouldn’t have even noticed it,… Continue reading

Get your home winter ready

PSE offers a checklist for the end of Daylight Saving Time

Photo courtesy of Renton Schools Foundation
                                Campbell Hill Elementary student Adrian and Honey Dew Elementary student Isaac look at the billboard featuring them that thanks Walker’s Renton Subaru and Toyota of Renton for their support of Renton Schools Foundation.
Billboard of thanks includes two local students

The Renton School’s Foundation celebrated another year with Toyota of Renton and… Continue reading

Plants in pots, shrubs in tubs solve outdoor problems

Planting hardy, woody shrubs into large containers can help solve a tubful of landscape problems.

Illustrations by Rob McClurkan
Dr. Universe explains venom

Ask Dr. Universe is a science-education column from Washington State University.

Prep trees for winter with the “Fall Five”

In autumn, trees demand attention with their tinted maroon, orange and bronze… Continue reading

Halloween safety tips for a haunting good time

The following from the State Fire Marshal’s Office: Colorful costumes, scary decorations,… Continue reading

This book will help you talk about death with loved ones

There’s plenty of food for all. You can see that, and it… Continue reading

Time to start checking fall garden chores off the to-do list

Fertilize the lawn with a fall/winter food, plant spring bulbs, rake leaves and divide perennials.