Gardeners get to witness many blessings!

We have been blessed with an extended growing season this year and a stretched out season of fall color on our deciduous trees and shrubs.  Some trees have dropped most of their leaves already while others are just starting to turn or are transitioning to bright reds and oranges.  You want to keep the fallen leaves from covering new tall fescue or rye grass plantings and growing crops like pansies, kale or cabbage.  These fallen leaves still hold a lot of stored food and you can collect them to put in a compost pile to make your own compost or mulch for use later to add to the soil to provide more organic matter or to mulch around your vegetable or flower beds next spring and summer.

We are still blessed with a lot of nice days at this time of year which provide you great opportunities to plant new trees and shrubs in your yard.  Container grown or balled and burlapped trees transplant well until the ground is frozen and these fall plantings require less extra watering and allow these new permanent plantings to start to root into their new soil home.  The roots will grow through the rest of the fall and winter and will be better established before the sizzling heat and drying winds of next summer.  Don’t forget to dig your planting holes about half again as big as needed, mix organic matter like sphagnum peat moss with the soil from the hole, place the plant at proper depth, with mix under & around it, then water in your new trees and shrubs periodically throughout the winter if we don’t get regular rains to help prevent dehydration and winter damage.  With less drying pressure through the winter a good rain or watering every four to six weeks will dramatically reduce winter damage and is particularity important for tree and shrub plantings in their first to third years until they are rooted deeper into the soil.

As we bid farewell to all of our warm season crops when we do receive a hard killing freeze, we begin to focus and look forward to the first flowers of next spring. One of the most cheerful announcements of spring are the bright, colorful, even enchanting flowers of our spring bulbs that must be planted soon.  The little crocus are amount the first flowers to announce spring and they work great as a border or scattered across the lawn to provide a mysterious and fun kickoff to spring.   I remember Dad having us throw crocus bulbs like Johnny Appleseed and then we would go and plant the crocus where they landed.  Tulips are often considered the most elegant or royal of the floral bulbs while hyacinths provide a tower of flowers plus enchanting scents.  Dutch Iris, grape hyacinth, alliums and many other lesser known bulb crops will give you a different look and add new excitement to your spring flower bulb show.  My favorite are the daffodils or narcissus, not just for their mesmerizing trumpet shaped flowers of yellow, orange, white or gold but because they do the best job of naturalizing and coming back year after year.  We have a stand on our property, planted by the previous land owners in the nineteen thirties that still come back spring after spring, since they are planted in a well drained area.  Daffodils are apparently not as tasty to deer and gophers and these colonies of daffodil will slowly grow over the years with just a little attention where most tulips and hyacinths put on a great show the spring after planting but rarely make a show in the following years.  If you have already purchased spring bulbs and they are still in bags or boxes in the garage, get them planted.  If you have not purchased your bulbs yet, go shopping at your local nursery or garden center and then get them planted as soon as possible so they can root in and grow underground through the winter ready to pop out of the ground with color next spring.

As gardeners we get to witness many blessings all through the year.  As we prepare for Thanksgiving week please take some extra time to reflect on the many blessings in your own life, your family, our great state and country and in your gardening activities.

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