There is a post on social media these days that asks a question that it appears the whole world is answering…
WHAT IS ONE THING THAT MOST PEOPLE LIKE BUT YOU DON’T?
Here it comes.
I don’t like fall.
Before you judge me, know this… in the midwest, fall is beautiful but only about 4 minutes long and it ushers in winter. While I love a beautiful blanket of snow as well as the next person, beautiful snows are few and the cold, dark days of winter are plentiful. Another thing about winter here is that it does not know when to leave. It hangs on and on and on. #badform 🙄
Note: Mr. G and I will be in line to get one of the first Pumpkin Spice Lattes! So cheers to that part of fall… 😉
The “season” of JULY has some issues too.
Japanese Beetles come around the 3rd week of June. Add to that some intense heat and drought robbing us of many of our summer roses. Not the garden’s finest hour. As I wander in the garden in July, I ask myself deep questions 🙄 like … Why are you are a gardener? Do you really want to be a gardener? You know, the usual horrible weather conversations gardeners have with themselves.
A few years ago someone sent me a card with the quote, AUTUMN IS THE SECOND SPRING. YESSSSSS. I loved that and it gave me the late summer attitude adjustment I needed. While I don’t do things much differently than I did before, just thinking that I am getting my garden ready for the 2nd spring makes all the difference.
So what does summer care look like for me?
In mid to late July, I start trimming back my reblooming roses (shrubs and hybrids – not old garden roses), give them their last dose of fertilizer (I most often use Mills Mix Easy Feed – a great tonic of organic and inorganic plant yumminess) AND last … (this is the best!) … clean up the fallen leaves around them and give them a fresh coat of mulch. Nothing says spring or beautiful garden like a fresh coat of mulch. It is just the best. I appreciate all the health benefits of mulch, but the pretty side of mulch is my favorite!
NOTE: The 2nd Spring trim is not as low or “severe” as the 1st Spring! Remember that the lower you trim, the longer it takes for the blooms to return. When it comes to climbing roses, they are handled differently as well.
⬆️ Fresh mulch around one of the bulletproof roses in my garden – Petit Pink. No need to do the late pruning, it just keeps on going!
Yes, we are on our way – if the “spring” rains would start, all would be good as we wait on those amazing 2nd Spring rose blooms.
FIRST FROST DATE
The predicted FIRST FROST DATE dictates much of our late summer/fall care. That date has been established as October 10 until recently I have seen that the USDA Hardiness Zone lists dates as somewhere between October 13 and 21. Good to checks things out for your Zone.
In Zone 5b we don’t fertilize beyond August and we stop deadheading roses in September as the roses need this time to go dormant before winter arrives. Pruning and deadheading our roses signal it’s time to bloom again and will leave them vulnerable to the cold.
Our roses don’t want to be alone! It’s good to have some pretty fall-blooming perennials, annuals, and shrubs that will complement the roses.
In my late summer/fall garden…
Shrubs that are beautiful this time of year are the Carpinteria (Bluebeard) that are just coming into their beautiful blue blooms and hydrangeas continue to be beautiful in the fall.
Annuals that hold their own during this season are…
- Dusty Miller
- Blue salvia
- Diamond Frost euphorbia
- Snapdragons (that were give a mid summer chop)
Perennials that make a huge difference this time of year in my garden are…
- Tall veronica
- Sedums (both the ground cover sedums and the tall sedums)
- A few Black eyed Susans make it this far
POTTING SHED PUTTERINGS
Finding foxgloves locally especially in the color I want is difficult to impossible. So last year I put some seeds in the ground and a few plants came up! This spring they grew so strong! They were the best foxgloves I had ever had – strong stems that bloomed for a very long time.
So this year I decided to do everything possible to ensure we have foxgloves next year. I’ve tossed seeds in the garden. I’ve started seeds inside to get little plants. They are hardening off now. I even put a few of the little seedlings directly in the ground a few weeks ago without hardening them off and so far they are doing great. Also hoping some of this year’s foxgloves will self-seed, but so far I don’t see any evidence of that.
Last year’s variety was Faerie Queen from Renee’s Garden and this year I am planting seeds I purchased in England – Mr. Fothergills’s Alba.
Regardless of what happens, I love the process…
ROSE CHAT PODCAST
THE DIRT ON SOIL with GAYE HAMMOND
In the most recent episode, I chat with a great friend, Gaye Hammond, to get all the dirt on soil! Grab your pencil and paper because we’re going to class.
Gaye takes us on a deep dive into the importance of good soil, moves into soil testing and pH, gives us up-to-the-minute research-based info on fertilizers, and ends with the importance of mulch – and it’s not just for “pretty!”
Gaye is an outstanding resource for all gardeners, especially those who grow roses. LISTEN HERE.
NOTE: On the podcast, the products to use for raising and lowering pH were reversed… Use Limestone to raise pH and use sulfur to lower. Personally, my pH is a bit high and I have bags of sulfur to use this fall.
BLOOM THYME THIS WEEK
Regardless of the season outside, our world is in a difficult season. Once again gardening has become more therapeutic than ever and my garden has become my prayer closet.
Take care friends. 😘