September 2018
How's Your Garden?

How's Your Garden?


Repeat-blooming roses make for a nice addition to your fall garden.

Second Spring for Roses

Repeat-blooming roses that are looking leafless and ragged here at the end of the season can often be coaxed into a nice fall show with just a little care early this month. Rejuvenate plants by snipping off dead blooms, stems, and seed pods. Give the plant a good shake to make it drop as many diseased leaves as it will, then rake and throw away the old mulch to replace with fresh. Spray thoroughly with Neem oil or other fungicide labeled for mildew and black spot on roses. Fertilize with compost, manure, or a slow-release fertilizer. Water at the ground, not overhead, to avoid wetting foliage beyond what is done naturally by rain and dew. Established, healthy roses will reward you with a nice flush of blooms in October.


Watch for Free Pine Needles

Rake pine needles as soon as they drop to gather clean pine straw before the other trees drop their leaves. Store dry needles in leaf bags that will be ready when you need a good, clean mulch for your shrubs and flowers. Blueberries and azaleas love it.


Fall’s cool weather encourages spring-planted flowers to rebloom.


Fall Pick-me-up for Flowers

Spring-planted flowers, that come back beautifully as soon as the weather cools, are petunias, geraniums, million bells, Superbells (Calibrachoa) and autumn sage salvia such as Lipstick and Hot Lips. Trim back the tips of the branches and feed them with a little liquid fertilizer to encourage new flowers. Marigolds in the garden may still look good, but if not, give them the same treatment.


Bamboo Edging

Recycle runaway bamboo on your property as stakes, trellises, and even fencing. I saw this small edging idea, and many others, at the Portland Japanese Garden in Oregon. Pieces of bamboo are cut the desired length and tied together with weatherproof rope. The designs and structures that can be made from bamboo seem endless, from simple bean teepees to solid screening fences. Many of the readers of this publication are good with their hands and could copy just about any picture they see. For endless ideas on how to put to good use any bamboo that is invading your property, search Google images and Pinterest for "bamboo garden structures." There is no shortage of inspiration.



Growing onions requires abundant sun and good drainage.

Onions for Spring and Fall

Fall is a good time to plant onions. You can start with sets, most of which are long-day onions, to produce a good crop of scallions for winter and spring. For full-sized onion bulbs, start from seeds or transplants. Bonnie seedlings and onion bunches will be available in September. Remember to plant onion transplants shallowly. When planted too deeply they don’t make full-sized bulbs.


Savoy Cabbage

When selecting cabbage transplants for the fall garden, include some of the savoy types for their cold hardiness. Savoy cabbage tends to be the most tolerant of freezing weather of all the heading cabbage. Plants set out may not reach full size before winter, but they will certainly be big enough to eat. Heads that sit out in the garden through frost often taste sweeter, just like collards.

Arum italicum brightens a wooded garden. It works well with the hosta that produces in the summer.



Italian Arum

This exotic-looking perennial (Arum italicum) offers pretty, evergreen, hosta-like foliage for shady gardens. The dark green leaves marked with white veins brighten the floor of a wooded garden, working in nicely with ferns and many other woodland species. Although tropical-looking, the foliage is very cold-hardy, surprisingly at its peak in winter when it is needed most. As the weather warms, the leaves die back, which is just about the time that hostas can cover the space. Sometimes gardeners plant hostas and arum together so that the plants alternate seasons. In summer, Italian arum produces a showy stalk of orange berries, which can be easily removed if you don’t want it to reseed, or be present among the hostas. All parts of the plants are high in oxalic acid and can be poisonous, so it should not be planted where animals or children would be attracted.



Lois Trigg Chaplin is author of “The Southern Gardener’s Book of Lists” and former garden editor of Southern Living Magazine.