September Horticulture: Plan your landscape and garden for fall

Marilyn Guidoz

Okay, ready, set……no wait!  This is the month for planning your landscape and garden areas.  Careful planning ahead can save you a lot of time, energy, money and regrets. It is still summer weather and  can be quite hot and dry this month.  Don’t worry, next month is the best planting time of the year.  Try to hold off your Fall planting for a few more weeks.

Meanwhile let’s get started with a list of reflective questions:

First, what is working in the garden right now?  Enjoy the bright blooms of the drought resistant sages (Salvias), perennial sedums, and warm season flowers and vegetables that are still going strong.  Continue to water deeply (unless the plant is summer dormant) especially if the hot, dry winds arrive.

Second, what changes do you want to make?  If any plant choices have been less than pleasing to you in the garden this year it is time to clear them out and prepare the soil for new ones.  Evaluate the general condition of your soil and make necessary improvements such as working in organic amendments and topping with organic mulch.  This is also the time to repair or replace irrigation and drainage systems.

Third, are you ready for the fire season?  The annual grasses and weeds should already be cut back to the ground, wood piles need to be located away from the house and surrounding shrubs need to be irrigated to maintain fire resistance.

Mid-September to mid-October is the time to divide irises and to purchase the best (plumpest) spring-flowering bulbs to save and plant later.  However, now is the time to plant Tazetta hybrids (Narcissus) bulbs in drifts along paths.  The drought-resistant corms of  Chasmanthe, Crocosmia, Freesia, and Watsonia are also available to plant now.