Fall – The Other Busy Season

Thats right, fall is officially here. Observe the hues of titian and saffron tingeing the trees. By the time all the trees are in full autumnal regalia, the gardener had better be well into the season’s chores. Lets get busy!

Make a list or look up Things To Do and see what tasks must be tackled in September/October. Schedule what needs doing by you, helpful family/friends, hired services. Getting organized cannot be overemphasized.

While you do that, here are some things that I thought you might want to know or be reminded of:

Instead of being annoyed at how early stores are displaying Halloween paraphernalia, consider it a reminder to collect material from the garden to make natural fall arrangements for indoor displays. Think wreaths and table-top centerpieces of pine cones, acorns, pretty fallen leaves, seedpods, dried roses, hydrangea etc., Look for fallen twigs that resemble skeletal hands, thorny rose or bramble stems to wind around monsters and ghosts hanging out in your porch. You have the luxury of time to get creative. Wait a few weeks and you will be scrambling.

It is well worth the effort to dry hydrangeas. Cut the flowers early in the day. Keep the stems long and remove the leaves. Place the flowers in in vases with an inch or two of water. Keep in a cool, dry space and away from direct sunlight. The flowers will dry in about a week. The water would’ve evaporated and the colors of the hydrangeas will be softly faded. They are ready for any arrangements you have in mind.

More news to encourage more green walls. Studies have shown that vertical gardens improve a building’s energy efficiency by 270 percent. At the University of Sheffield, research has found that plants have a considerable capacity for cooling buildings. Walls screened with cherry laurel were found to be 10 degree Centigrade cooler than bare walls. Stachys byzantina ( Lamb’s Ears) proved very effective, partly because its silver leaves help to reflect light away from the wall.
Start thinking about how you too can create a vertical garden. Expand your garden while cutting down on energy bills. Check out my Vertical Garden page to learn more but remember, you can keep it simple by making it a garden only for the warm months.

As we face more unusual weather by way of unprecedented storms and subsequent damage, planting trees strategically can and should be part of long-term measures to deal with flooding. The practice is a cost effective effort that can complement man-made structures for flood prevention and handling. Trees not only work against erosion but help to slow the rate at which rain reaches the ground. So, the falling water is ‘managed’ better. In our gardens, adding trees and shrubs will make a difference. But, lets put pressure on local governments to do the same. This is the season to plant!

You still need to keep weeding. As one final effort to tackle the weeds peering through stone and brick work, pour boiling water over them. Make sure the leaves wilt and collapse completely. This will put paid to any seeds that would’ve been on stand-by to burst forth first thing next spring.

Collect seeds from choice flowers vegetables. Keep in mind seeds from hybrids will not produce plants true to their parents. Save only heirlooms and open-pollinated types. Seeds should be mature and dry on the plants before you collect them. Label and store in a cool, dry and dark place.

Just some food for thought and action. The weather here this week is perfect for getting garden chores done. Lets get on with them!

Do please check out Shop to see my botanical note cards. I’ll be adding more soon.

Hydrangea adorn a table set for an autumnal repast.

Hydrangea adorn a table set for an autumnal repast.


Hydrangea in September

Hydrangea in September


My Vertical Garden

My Vertical Garden


Baptisia seedpods. For seed collecting and/or decorations

Baptisia seedpods. For seed collecting and/or decorations


Autumnal view

Autumnal view


(c)2014 Shobha Vanchiswar

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