Photo courtesy of Bachman's
South Dakota got 55 inches of snow last week, but thankfully we Minnesotans are still reveling in fall’s glory. While raking may be the main activity that comes to mind when thinking about fall yard work, don’t put your plants and flowers on the back burner quite yet. They deserve some loving, too! Mpls.St.Paul Home & Design spoke with Susie Bachman, a gardening expert from Bachman’s (and 5th generation member of the floral empire), and got her top tips for transitioning your garden from summer to fall.
1. Swap Out Plants: "We haven’t had a killing frost in the Twin Cities, but most people’s plants from the summer are starting to look a little tired and worn. You can take out these plants and add pansies, kale, and garden mums instead, which do better with cooler temperatures. But even if we do get some nights that kind of dip down there, if you just cover your plant material with a bed sheet, they will get by fine."
2. Go for Grass: "Ornamental grasses like fireworks grass and fountain grass aren’t really in their full beauty until the fall; that’s when they get their seed heads, plums, and start changing colors. Whether it’s a perennial or an annual grass, the time is prime. A perennial grass you could put in the ground, and an annual, in a pot. Your gardening center will tell you which is which."
3. Buy Bulbs: "Tulips, daffodils, crocus, and hyacinth are beautiful spring blooming bulbs, and now is the time to plant them. Bulbs always look best planted in mass, and remember to lay the bulb point-side-up and cover with dirt. If you have problems with squirrels or chipmunks digging them up, you can lay down chicken wire. Then once the ground is completely frozen, lift the chicken wire so your tulips come up easy in the spring."
4. Prohibit Pruning: "You really don’t want to do any pruning at all now—especially for things that bloom early in the spring, like lilacs and magnolias. The act of pruning when a plant is going dormant actually tells the plant to grow more, and you want the plant to slow down its growth and prepare for the winter."
5. Tree Detail: "You can tell that a tree limb isn’t doing so good if it has only half of its leaves or half of the limb looks dead. The best time to prune trees would be in the dead of winter, when there isn’t a single leaf left. So a good fall activity would be to mark the limbs on trees that you would want to prune. Use a ribbon, spray paint, or anything else that will show up in the winter."
6. Double-Duty Hay Bales: "Create a little scene or vignette by the front door with a hay bale, a few corn stalks, an array of pumpkins and gourds, and some mums and pansies. Then when you’re done with the hay bale, cut it open and spread it over your perennial garden for added protection."
Once you’ve officially fall-ified your garden and are ready to tackle the inside of your home, register online for the October Floral Design Workshop at Bachman’s Lyndale location on October 19th from 2-4 p.m. For $40, award-winning floral designer Diane Enge will help you create a flower and gourd-filled fall centerpiece you can take home.