Living in a yard with huge cottonwood trees surrounding you can be a joy in the summer and a "much avoided" task in the fall. This year we didn't get hit with the leaf minor bugs to bad so all our leaves held on through the entire summer. But they certainly have lost their grip now. The entire front yard, side yard, back yard and flower beds are filled with brownness. This morning I headed outside to start on some of the fall clean-up chores that should have been done weeks ago. Opening a new store, and vacationing with the kids in Maine has put me behind by at least a month but as someone who always tries to see a silver lining in the cloud, at least all the leaves have fallen now. No raking twice this year!
The flowers on the mums have all turned a nice shade of cocoa, but the plants themselves are still very green. The tomato and pepper plants have all been composted and I have pruned back some things, but not to many. I am of the "leave it alone until late winter" group of people regarding pruning. I think that the layer of protection afforded by the remainder of the plant will keep the roots warm in the cold, cold days coming. Think of it as a little warm chenille blanket, comfy and soft, protecting your young roots from the cold. One question we have received many calls on at the nursery this last month though has been about roses. If you have just moved here from warmer locals, now is NOT the time to prune back your roses. Tax Day, April 15th is the earliest recommend date for heavy pruning. We still have many warm sunny days left in the fall, and pruning encourages growth that would just freeze and set your plants back come spring.
I am not at the point yet that I start browsing through the seed catalogs, or planning my early spring garden. I am still trying to get through the bulbs that sit un-planted in the garage, the late fall fertilizer that never found it's way to the lawn, and the drip lines that need to be blown out. I am way behind this year, but I have a new store to appreciate, and memories of an amazing vacation to fill my thoughts. It's back out to the leaf pile for me. Take care, Susan