Finally, an end to the long, hot summer is in sight! Leaves will start falling and the garden will soon transition into a sleepy mode. Now is the time for raking, mulching and enjoying the last blooms of summer. Before you spread the mulch, take a minute to spread some coffee grounds around your camellia and azalea bushes. Use a shovel with a long spade to turn the grounds into the soil. This will provide a touch of acid to the soil that watering and summer rains have washed away. If any of your summer bloomers have gone to seed, shaking the seeds over that same plant area may encourage them to reoccur next year. After these chores, deadhead and trim finished plantings. Now, spread an inch or so of winter mulch.
If you planted herbs this summer, trim and pot them for a trip to an indoor kitchen window. It’s nice to have some fresh basil, thyme or rosemary to add to your salad. This is also a great time to plant bulbs for the spring—daffodils, tulips or hyacinths. Split lilies and monkey grass and replant where needed in the garden.
Clean and repair your bird feeders and bird baths. Soon, the feathered friends will be visiting your garden as they make their way even further south. Some will decide to stay if winter promises to be mild here and your garden is well stocked with berries and seed. Don’t forget the hummingbirds! A plastic feeder will cost under $10, and it’s very easy to keep a sugar solution mixed and ready to fill the feeder. Mix four parts water to one part sugar, heat to dissolve the sugar, stir well and you are ready to put a treat out for the little dynamos!
Enjoy nature’s fall treats, and don’t forget the same breezes that send the multi-colored leaves down to decorate the lawn are the perfect way to air out the multi-colored sweaters you have hanging in the closet. Fall-ing with nature is certainly the only way to fall! Happy gardening!