Upper South

August, 2006
Regional Report

Take Advantage of Plant Sales

As the weather cools, growing conditions become ideal, and roots have ample time to grow into the surrounding soil before the ground freezes. Analyze your garden to see if adding new trees and shrubs would enhance it, then visit garden centers to see what's available. Often, they'll have plants on sale in the fall. As always with new plantings, be sure to water them deeply once a week if there is not adequate rainfall. It's also a good idea to mulch around the new plantings and wrap tree trunks.

Buy Fall-Blooming Flowers

Chrysanthemums are the traditional flowers of autumn and are now available in stores, but don't overlook other great fall-blooming plants, especially asters, which are becoming more widely available in dwarf sizes and a variety of colors. Both mums and asters in pots are great for decorating, either indoors or out. Perhaps you want to simply replace bedragged annuals in windowboxes or planters, but why not have the fun of combining the flowers with straw bales, pumpkins, gourds, and cornstalks?

Avoid Pruning Spring-Flowering Shrubs

During fall cleanup, you might be trimming or shaping shrubs and be tempted to include spring-blooming ones like forsythias, azaleas, rhododendrons, and lilacs. But try to avoid this unless absolutely necessary. The buds for next year's flowers are already set, so if the plants are pruned now, spring flowers will be sacrificed. If possible, wait until immediately after the shrubs finish blooming to prune.

Prepare Houseplants For Indoors

Houseplants that have spent the summer outdoors need some care before they're brought indoors. Check plants closely for pests and treat any insects with the appropriate insecticide. Also, repot any pot-bound plants.

Make the Most of Fall

It's true what our elders used to say: Time does seem to go by faster every year. Autumn is a beautiful time of year, with moderate temperatures, glorious colors of flowers and foliage, and lots of fun activities. Take the time to look up from the computer screen or gardening chores to enjoy all of these things. If you're still "putting up" salsa or jams, turn the work into a party with friends or family. Take the kids or grandkids on a hike. Relish all the glories of the moment.

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Special Report - Garden to Table

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