Never mulch perennials in the fall until the ground has frozen and do not remove until the end of March to avoid frost-heaving damage
Reviving Perennial Borders & More For Fall
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Fall commences this 22nd September. Among other notable dates this month the 13th is Grandparent’s Day followed two days later by Felt Hat Day. The 19th September has been declaimed to be Talk Like a Pirate Day, surely dedicated to Johnny Depp while the last Friday of the month is listed as Hug a Vegetarian Day.
In the garden September is bulb planting month, eagerly anticipated by every squirrel in the neighbourhood.
So how to discourage the furry freeloaders? Many and ingenious are claims. The foremost perhaps is to plant poisonous bulbs. Daffodils, Narcissus and Siberian Scilla are all highly distasteful to squirrels. As a bonus, they will multiply, year after year. Following planting, sprinkling the ground with powdered cayenne or chile pepper, or granulated dried blood fertilizer may work for a few days or until the next rain, then must be reapplied. A foot-deep layer of twiggy branches over flowerbeds also discourages the critters – they are scared of getting caught underneath. While somebody once suggested getting a dog – a big dog, a meat eater – when it comes down to the wire that is about the only thing – wire – that really works. Peg down chicken wire mesh over the entire area. Remove when the first shoots emerge in spring.
Diversion No. 1
Black Thumb? He thought Noah kept his bees in the ark hives
Fall is a good time to revive the perennial border. As a general rule, plants that bloom early in the season are best divided in fall, those that bloom late in the spring. There are exceptions, of course: peonies, oriental poppies and lilies strongly object to being disturbed and so are best left alone. Iris are lifted, divided and replanted shortly after they cease flowering. Most others will benefit from being dug up, the centre, older ‘played-out’ portions discarded and a modest section of the remainder replanted. A cardinal error is to replant everything, allowing the more vigorous to predominate the perennial border. Proffer the surplus to neighbours, relatives, friends, co-workers or simply leave at the end of the drive – you’ll be surprised at how quickly they vanish. Those that are cut back and replanted – always in odd numbers, never even, for best effect – will have plenty of time to become established before the winter freeze arrives.
Diversion No. 2
U.K. police dispatched a helicopter, dog unit and five police cars filled with armed officers to a house in a quiet neighbourhood Christchurch, Dorset following a report of a man waving a weapon, only to discover it was a gardener with a rake working late in the evening with his son and a friend. A nursing home member of staff two doors away thought she had seen a man with a weapon.
As the garden senses the change of season and plants fade, they can be cut back lest their dead, decaying remains provide overwintering resorts for pests and pathogens. Exceptions are most silver and grey-leaved perennials, which are evergreen and may be left until early the following spring, along with ornamental grasses and the larger Euphorbia species. Continue deadheading roses until late in the month them allow them to form seedpods (‘hips’) and to close off for the season. However Rudbeckia flower heads, left on the plant, are a wild bird attractant.
Diversion No. 3
University of Adelaide research has shown for the first time that, despite not having a nervous system, plants use signals normally associated with animals when they encounter stress [Source: Nature Communications].
Never mulch perennials in the fall until the ground has frozen and do not remove until the end of March to avoid frost-heaving damage. However, garden centres seem reluctant to provide mulch materials at such time later in the year. The only answer is to purchase such early and store until needed, hence this early advice. And it could be a long, hard winter if Calgary’s snowfall on 21 August is any indication. True, it didn’t stick around, but . . .
Diversion No. 4
Conspiracy doomsday predictors have a new reason to give up on gardening: a giant space rock will collide with Earth between 22 and 28 September causing civilization to collapse. Reassuringly, NASA has denied the ‘asteroid apocalypse’ so that bulb planting, lawn mowing and assorted other horticultural happenings can continue.
Chuseok, the Korean Thanksgiving or Harvest Festival, is celebrated on 27 September this year, a moveable even that dates from shamanistic celebrations of the harvest moon. As is the practice the date before and afterwards are statutory holidays in South Korea.
Koreans visit their ancestral hometowns and share a feast of traditional Korea food such as songpyeon (rice cake) and rice wines such as sindoju and doingdongju, clean tombs of ancestors and give gifts