Ornamental kale, pansies, violas, snapdragons and pinks are available now at garden centers. Plant some of these around an entrance or in a window box, and you'll have color until the weather turns really cold. Often, the plants survive the winter and start blooming early next spring. To get the most impact, plant them closer than you normally would.
Some perennials come up late in the spring, making it easy for you to think they've died or that you've forgotten where you planted them. Some of these perennials include joe-pye weed, butterfly weed, balloon flower and Japanese anemone. As garden cleanup continues, mark each plant with a weather-resistant label, such as those made of aluminum or copper.
Clean and Oil Tools
In the best of all possible worlds, garden tools would be clean, sharpened and oiled after every use. In the real world, we're lucky to accomplish these tasks at the end of the growing season. Wash soil off tools such as spades and forks. Let them dry; then, if they are not stainless steel, check for rust spots. Remove any rust with a wire brush, then rub with vegetable oil. For hoes, knives and pruners, use steel wool to remove any rust, then sharpen and oil these, too.
Prepare Greenhouse for Winter
Wash the covering on the greenhouse -- be it glass or plastic -- inside and out, so that full light is available on dark winter days. Remove any debris from the floor. Make sure vents are operable. To save energy, consider adding some type of insulating material to glass walls, such as bubble wrap. Add weatherstripping at doors. Check heaters and fans to make sure they are working, and replace as necessary.
Chrysanthemums may get all the attention in autumn, but asters add a wonderful range of blues, purples and pinks to the fall garden, and they are often very long-blooming. As the flowers fade, divide large clumps and add them to other areas of the garden. As you study garden catalogs this winter, consider adding other varieties next year.