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.


Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@rentonreporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.rentonreporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 300 words or less.

More in Life

Three drive-in films set for Kent’s ShoWare Center Aug. 12-16

‘The Lion King,’ ‘Ghostbusters’ and ‘Gremlins’

RTC student Rose Milianta, left, delivering a birthday cake to Birthday Dreams Volunteer Coordinator Tiffaney Jones to give to a child in need. Courtesy photo/Renton Technical College
Local college students bake for Birthday Dreams

The nonprofit delivers birthday cakes and more to children who are homeless, and the new partnership with RTC helps students, too.

2020 Ford Ranger SuperCrew Lariat. Courtesy photo
2020 Ford Ranger SuperCrew Lariat | Car review

Ford’s venerable compact Ranger pickup went away for a while. But it… Continue reading

Renton church offers online funeral services

As a result of COVID-19 closures, the church decided to find a way for people to gather and mourn loved ones

Washington State Fair cancelled

COVID-19 outbreak claims another event

Founder and co-owner of Red Tea Room Donna Wong puts the finishing touch on their most popular dessert— Lemon Meringue Glacée. Photo by Haley Ausbun.
Renton catering company pivots during pandemic

The Red Tea Room Catering’s move to takeout helped keep the company going— and get closer to neighbors

Courtesy of Lindbergh High School.
Congrats to the Class of 2020— virtual ceremony June 15

Students were also celebrated using walk-up ceremonies at Renton High School, Lindbergh High School, Hazen High School and Talley Sr. High School

TLG Motion Pictures CEO Erik Bernard and TLG founder Courtney LeMarco on a set. Photo courtesy TLG Motion Pictures.
Local production company seeking film, TV pitches from young minority creatives

The Big Pitch competition, put on by TLG Motion Pictures (“Hoarders”), started about six months ago.

Relay for Life of South King County moves online

American Cancer Society donations to be taken during May 30 virtual gathering

Photo by Haley Ausbun
                                A woman checks out jars of honey and jam at the Renton Farmers Market in 2018. This year social distancing guidelines are changing the look of the market.
Renton Farmers Market is back June 9

The 19th season of the market will look a little different due to social distancing guidelines

Auburn Symphony Orchestra announces 2020-21 season

Begins with Summer Series scheduled to start June 21

Medic One Foundation’s Gratitude Meals offer support to first responders, local businesses

The initiative provides hearty lunches to first responders staffing the COVID-19 testing sites as they work to test their colleagues.