Fall is upon us. You know how I know? Because when I go outside in the morning, I have to put shoes on. I don’t like shoes to begin with, and when I went outside the other morning I came back with numb feet. Sigh. The seasons always sneak up on me, and now that the cold has come calling, I feel bad for complaining about the heat. Although the fall is my favorite time of year, aside from spring. The busyness and energy of spring is slowly winding down to the sleep of winter. For some plants, their time has come. The frost will take many of the plants I’ve grown this year, and almost everything is setting seed right now. I hope they’ll set enough to fill up many of the holes that were present in my beds this year. I overstretched my resources a bit this time around, but everything is about learning and growing. As I was looking around the other day, wondering if I should pull some weeds even though a move is ever imminent, I began to think about successes and failures, and what I would do differently in the future, even if that future is a few years down the line, when I will again have a garden to tend to.
So, firstly, I think I should have invested in mulch. A few beds around the house are easy enough to keep up with as far as weeding, but I expanded my vision to 5 more beds, as well as increasing the size of existing ones. And to be honest, I think I jumped the gun. It was a little much for me and even though mulch can’t stop every single weed, I think I would’ve preferred fewer, tidier beds that were fuller and mulched.
I also should weed more. Yes, I know, I know, bad plant parent over here, but I haven’t been weeding like I should. Other things have taken priority in my mind, and as much as I despise this disconnect, that may be just how things are for a while. But take care of what you have while you have it, I say. Before the frost comes, those beds will be in shape. Honestly, I’d like to rip out a lot of things and start over, but it’ll be interesting to hear what comes up and what doesn’t.
There’s an area that always gets overgrown with weeds, and for a few years now I’ve been trying to seed some wildflowers over there. Every year not much happens. This year, I had a few poppies and some cosmos, but not to the extent that I wanted.
I had great success with my seeds this year, although they took forever to come up. Zinnias, saint john’s wort, all manner of annual vines, nicotiana, and cosmos that reseeded themselves last year. I have a few that are much taller than me!
My pots have done well, as I made a conscious choice to focus more on them this year. I’ve got more pots than both the front and back porch can handle, and now that I’m bringing some plants inside, I’m starting to wonder where they’re all going to go!
Some hostas that I transplanted are doing well. I transferred them to a flowerbed in the middle of June, and they completely died back, and I thought I’d killed them. I should’ve known that hostas are resilient plants, and I have a ton of new growth on them now. There were doubters amongst my ranks when I did that project, so there. It worked, haters.
The apple trees were a source of pride for me this year. I trimmed them quite severely last winter, and I felt that I had taken too much. They were riddled with disease and all the calamities that come with neglect and the fruit always got eaten by pests before it reached maturity. You have to brutal sometimes. I’m happy to report that I have seen a massive improvement in the harvest from those trees. The apples got full and turned red, which they’ve never done before. The canopies, while still in need of lightening, are lighter and less crowded. I see no signs of disease, and the pests are lighter.
Beyond what I have done, there are still things I need to do. One of the biggest is a rejuvenation prune on a few scraggly old bushes near the entrance of my house. They are basically dead, and a rejuvenation prune basically means that you cut a plant all the way down to the ground and wait to see if the roots push new growth. If they do, great, if they don’t, you start thinking about new ideas for that space.
So, those are some general gardening antics from me. The year is going fast, so there will be less and less for me to do outside. It’s good for the gardener to rest and anticipate the rebirth of spring.
Jarad recently graduated from college at MTSU, loves tea and coffee, and tries to spend every spare second reading. He has been a fervent gardener for 6 years and is fascinated by all related topics and has spent the last several years writing about this passion. He believes that nature is our greatest teacher. He majored in English with a concentration in literature and plans to pursue and master’s degree in Ecocriticism.