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Fall Gardening Tips

by kelly / October, 8 2014 01:30

Holly garden

This week I got to talk to a very special lady, Holly.  She's not only an expert gardener but the mother of our co-founder Will (and my mother in law).  Holly keeps a tip top garden at her home in NY and has also built some beautiful gardens for a number of clients.  She's always trying to teach Will about flowers but let's just say he's more interested in AstroTurf.  Luckily I got to chat with her as I think gardening is a great way to get outdoors.   Holly offered some quick and useful tips for gardening in the fall and year round that I thought would be great to share.  Check out my conversation with her below.  I have a feeling you will all find some helpful advice.


Kelly: Can you make a garden last year round on the east coast, especially in the Winter?

Holly: Yes, you can have plants in your garden that will have green leaves all winter and also put bulbs in that bloom as early as February.  One flowering plant in particular, hellebore, has great leaves, blooms as early as February and doesn't get eaten by deer.  Hellebore likes the sun in winter, but should be shaded by a tree or other plants in the summer.  In the winter there are trees and shrubs that actually have interesting or colorful trunks and stems which will show up against the snow.  The seed heads of some perennial flowers will stand up through the snow and will attract some birds as food.  


Kelly: How does gardening differ in the fall than from the other seasons?

Holly: Generally, Fall is clean up time and not a good time for pruning as the plants are not dormant.  Any pruning will make the plant shoot up new growth that will be killed by the frost and the cold of winter.  My suggestion is to only clean up leaves that have fallen or that have turned yellow on the perennial flowers. I plant shrubs and some perennial flowers in early fall but the ground can't be too cold or the plant won't take.  


Kelly: What type of plants are good for fall gardens?

Holly: Asters, fall anemones, korean mums, montauk daisies, russian sage and grasses are perennials that come into their own in the fall.  Annual plants that shine in the fall are salvias (especially the tall ones), dahlias, verbenas, marigolds, lantanas coleus and lots more.  Fall is a great time for annuals if you have kept up with removing the spent flowers and fertilizing during the summer.


Kelly: What's the most important fall gardening tip you can give someone that's new to gardening?

Holly: Mums that you see at grocery stores and elsewhere mostly won't come back again next year.  They are pretty additions for now but if you want a plant that will return next year try Asters and Montauk Daisies.  Remember when you plant anything with a daisy faced flower that the face will turn toward the sun, so think about that direction when you plant the flower.


Kelly: What and where is your favorite garden?

Holly: There are four gardens that I go to for inspiration: New York Botanical Garden, Wave Hill, Old Westbury Gardens and Stonecrop Gardens.  Also I am eager to see what is planned next spring at the Untermyer Garden in Yonkers where they are restoring a long neglected formal garden.  This year they used marigolds in such an effective way that there were articles about it in the major newspapers.


Kelly: How do you protect yourself while outside gardening?

Holly: Well sunscreen of course and bug spray, a visor and gloves - not a beautiful sight.


Thanks again to Holly for talking with me and providing some expert advice.  I look forward to visiting your garden again soon.

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