Here’s a glimpse of a spring not long ago: I walk around my property looking at the new buzz of grass on the ground and little leaves squeezing out of the branches and I think, THIS is going to be the year I plant some new stuff, really spruce things up around here, the year I create an honest-to-God grown-up-looking greenspace full of artfully placed plants and flowers and trees. An urban oasis. Pride of the neighborhood. Refuge for bunnies, fairies, birds of every conceivable feather, especially my strange friends.
… But then the calendar fills and work is work and when I’m out running errands I see good, virtuous yard owners cheerfully hauling flats of I-don’t-know-what out of nurseries and I avert my eyes with shame because I’m busy and behind and I’m just not sure where to start. And before I know it, it’s summer. It’s blazing hot, and I think, next year will be the banner year for me and my (pale) green thumb.
Imagine my bliss, the assuagement of guilt when my pal Bernie tells me that fall planting is the way to go anyway. What? Fall? I LOVE fall. I have energy and moxie and passion in the fall. Tis the season for buying new notebooks and wearing flannel and dumping bad boyfriends. I love the idea of a good fall dig-in-the-dirt.
The science behind fall planting, dumbed-down considerably for me by Bernie, is that the roots of fall plants thrive in the warmed soil of fall and are already established when spring rolls around. It’s Head Start for most plants. More rain and cooler weather help with growth.
And here’s another thing. In the fall, I can see where stuff already is. Please forgive my memory, but in early spring, I just don’t know what’s going to come up where. I’m surprised every year, like, “Hey, look at all those Hosta!” or “Lillies! Where’d you come from?” By planting in the fall, I can sort of see where things already are and easily identify bald spots.
Pick up some perennials at your local nursery (they’re likely on sale this time of year. Total bonus.) And some bulbs like Tulip, Hyacinth, Daffodil, Iris. Also consider trees and shrubs. They love to go in the ground in the fall. And it helps to set up a working station with the tools you need all in one place – a shovel and spade, mulch (mulch in your plants to help retain water), gloves, etc. You know, all the things you tend to leave somewhere in the yard.
Now go get dirty.
- Rebecca Hansen, guest blogger and lifestyle writer.