If you are like me, lists are so helpful in general. It feels so good to check off the things that need to be done. Its a great sense of accomplishment to complete and check even the smallest task. So here goes: You can print and cross out the important things you need to do to prepare your garden for Fall.
Water: All of your plants will thank you from a good drink. Trees need lots of moisture to make it through the next few months. Fall is typically cooler and a little damp, so keep this in mind. Watering deeply, particularly if you sense a dry spell will ensure healthy shrub and tree roots.
Clear away debris from beneath plants: Debris can harbor diseases that may overwinter. Especially important to clean up under roses. Discard any rose leaves with black spot.
Amend your soil: Get the ground ready for next year's plantings and this year's bulbs. Adding compost, peat and humus can be so beneficial to not only your soil texture but the health of your plants.
Bulb Selection: Now the fun begins! Choosing your bulbs is like choosing the colors of Spring. Order the bulbs in the colors you want and pay close attention to staggering the bloom times so that Spring will be filled with lots of color. Bulb catalogs will note whether the the flowers will bloom early, mid or late Spring. *Note* that daffodils are naturally toxic to critters such as moles and voles, so they will multiply and flourish year after year without getting eaten. Many of the other type of bulbs, especially tulips, are delicacies to the underground varmits. I plant extra of them hoping that to have enough for both me and the critters. Planting them at the recommended depths and adding more year after year seems to work for me.
Shrubs and Trees: Early fall planting gives new plants enough time to get their roots established before they go dormant in the winter. The temperatures are cooler and allow for successful acclimation.
Plant Fall Annuals: Summer blooms are coming to an end and now is the time to plant colorful mums, asters, cabbages and kale to take their place. I often change all my potted arrangements and add in a few pansies. Pansies are great because they will winter over into Spring! The tapestry of fall foliage is beautiful and can really set the stage for Autumn.
In the next couple of weeks, I'll have a mid fall checklist for you! Have fun, especially with the bulb selection! I know its difficult to take the time and plant something when you won't see the results until Spring. Don't let this be a deterrent! You will thank me next March, April and May!