October In The Garden


It’s October and Fall is making its appearance in the garden.

As Fall kicks off during October, it is one of the best times of the year to garden and there’s plenty to keep you busy!


Here is a brief list of garden-keeping tasks for this month:

OctoberPrepare for color:  it’s time to plant your spring flowering bulbs and late flowering perennials.  Because those bulbs are underground and won’t pop out till next Spring, it’s a good idea to put markers on the spots where they are buried so that you don’t plant over them or dig them up by mistake!

OctoberDivide and move perennials that have grown too much in a clump over the summer.

Plant your paperwhite bulbs so that they’re blooming in time for Christmas.

Plant garlic.


Skimmia RubellaPlant or move shrubs nowFall is a great time for planting as the plants energy goes into establishing roots rather than growing upwards into shoots and leaves.



OctoberTrim your climbing vines and make sure they are securely fastened to their trellises so that they don’t get broken when the winds begin.

Prune all the shrubs and herbaceous perennials that should be trimmed at this time of year – hostas, certain ornamental grasses, spirea, bearded iris, beebalm, columbine, corydalis, crocosmia, daylily, margeurite, golden star, ground clematis, hardy begonia, peony, ph;ox, salvia.

Many plants should not be pruned until spring, so be sure to check with your garden center to avoid winter damage.

OctoberGet a head start on your flowers next spring: dig up all the tender ones that would normally die off in winter. Pot them and keep them in a light place protected from cold and frost, then replant in the spring. Geraniums and fuschias can be overwintered by removing from soil, trimming back and storing. Geraniums can be hung roots up while fuschias can be buried under soil.

If you’ve grown apples, now is the time to store them at between zero and seven degrees celcius.

Dry beans well before storing in airtight containers.

Clean and dry onions before storing.

Store root crops that have been cleaned in a cool, dry, dark spot. Trimming off the tops will help them to last longer.  Squash / Pumpkins need to be cleaned well with bleach or vinegar solution and then stored in a cool, dry place.

To Rake or Not To Rake: Now’s the time when the trees really begin shedding their leaves.  Some people like to take advantage of dry Fall days to blow these leaves clear, gathering them up and adding them to the compost heap.  Others prefer to leave them in the garden as a protection for shrub and tree roots from the cold.



End of Summer Garden Chores

Panicle Hydrangea

It’s September and it’s time for the end of summer garden chores.

end of summer garden choresThis time of year is really just as exciting as Spring.  Although the annuals are beginning to reach the end of their season, there are still plenty of interesting visuals in the garden and it’s the perfect time to plan ahead for the next year and get organized for Fall planting.

The first chores that need to be attended to are making sure that any plants that need to be sheltered from the cooler weather are acclimated to where they’ll stay indoors.  Once the evening temperatures begin falling, these plants can suffer damage, so it’s best to take care of this as soon as the evening temperatures hit around 10 degrees Celcius.  At that temperature, a cool snap becomes a lot more likely and if the temperatures dip too low, your plant could die.

MulchThe next thing on the chore list should be making sure that your beds are adequately mulched to protect roots of trees and shrubs during the winter.  Although you may have leaves falling, these can sometimes begin to rot if it gets too wet.

The third thing you’ll want to do is to take a good look at your garden landscape and decide if you’re happy with it as is, or if you’d like to make some changes.  If changes are on the agenda, then now’s the time to begin planning them.  It’s also the time to begin purchasing bulbs for Fall planting.

winter chores pruningIt’s a little too early still for most pruning. You’ll want to wait until later in Fall or early Winter when your shrubs are in their most dormant stage.  That’s the best time to prune.  As the weather gets colder, less energy is used for above the ground growth and more is diverted below the ground to strengthen root systems.

What you will want to do is repot any plants that are outgrowing their containers.  Don’t repot into containers that are too big as this can actually inhibit growth.  Go a single size bigger to allow roots just a little more room to spread out.

fall color mumsAbove all, the end of summer is a time to really enjoy the changes in the garden. Foliage changing color and late summer blooms in the softer, gentler sunshine. Crisp mornings and cool evenings when the air seems cleaner and clearer!

If you feel that your garden is starting to look a little drab, the good news is that now is the perfect time to begin making changes.  Take some photos of your garden. Think about what you’d like to see. Then come in and chat with our professional horticulturalists who can help you choose plants and design garden layouts that will ensure color and interest throughout the year.

5 Tips for Fall Planting

Fall PlantingJust because Spring and Summer are over doesn’t mean that your garden has to look drab and dreary.  Now’s the time for Fall planting. You can easily liven things up with creative use of Fall colours and textures.

Here are some tips on things to consider when planning Fall planting in your garden or in a container.

Tip 1:
Choose plants that will withstand cooler temperatures including frost. Be sure to check with your garden center for advise on plants suitable for your zone.

Tip 2:
Plan your color scheme: choose plants that have both contrast and compatibility. Remember foliage can provide both texture and colour. You’re not limited to flowers alone.  If you’re not sure what colors will work for you, or which colors are available, feel free to come and chat with us and we’ll point out exactly which plants will provide you with the pizzazz you’re looking for.

Tip 3:
Plants don’t grow and spread as vigorously in Fall, so you can plant them a bit closer and in greater quantity than you would in summer.  Plant your container as full as it needs to be to look good as Fall progresses. The plants won’t get much fuller or bigger, so essentially, what you see is what you’ll get.

Tip 4:
Fall means a bit less water and less fertilizer is necessary.  If you are going to use fertilizer, use a water soluble variety that will get to the roots.  Controlled or slow release fertilizers are often temperature activated, meaning that in lower temperatures they may not be released at all.

Tip 5:
Look out for Jack Frost!  You’ve already chosen plants that are frost tolerant, but it’s a wise idea to take extra care when a heavy frost or cold snap is expected.  Cover the plants with a light weight cover – an old sheet  will work – over night.  It’ll keep your Fall colour going strong!

In our next article,we’ll give you some ideas as to what plants are perfect for our West Coast gardens.  If you don’t want to wait for that, come on in and we’ll be happy to show you and give you any advice you need.

Happy planting!