Lawns need help after harsh summer temperatures, dahlia tubers need to be dug up and dried, and some pruning is recommended as fall approaches. Bella the cat is helping garden expert Pam Erikson in the nursery, as autumn arrives and she endeavours to take care of all these gardening tasks and more. (Pam Erikson/Special to Langley Advance Times)

LANGLEY GREEN THUMB: Preparing for fall can be fun

Brutal summer heat might mean plants and lawn need more love and attention at this time of year

by Pam Erikson/Special to Langley Advance Times

Hard to believe that another summer is almost behind us.

Gardening has continued to be on the upswing as more vacations were sadly cancelled this year amid pandemic restrictions, wildfires, and uncertain times for many working in different areas of business.

Staying at home has made all of us concentrate on our surroundings more and really working on making our gardens an oasis of peace and calm.

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Fall is a very busy time – consisting of cleaning up the gardens, raking leaves, cutting back perennials, and also making plans for what will be in the garden for winter – pansies, ornamental kale, and many winter flowering shrubs and plants.

Just because summer is over doesn’t mean the garden is and there is a myriad of lovely plants you can utilize during the fall and winter.

Fall is also a great time to divide overgrown perennials, plant new purchases including bulbs like tulips, narcissus, alliums, etc. to ensure lots of colour for early spring.

Those with vegetable gardens have probably already planned or planted out their winter crops and are drying, freezing, or canning their produce from the summer.

Dahlias have been the features in many gardens at this time of year, but be sure to dig, dry, and store dahlia tubers before hard frost.

This year we suffered with truly brutal summer heat – hard on both plants and the lawns.

While we have always maintained that lawns go dormant when stressed, and happily return once the fall rains start, this may not be totally true for this year.

The heat went on for so long and to such extremes that we believe a lot of lawns are going to need something extra to come back.

Once the rains do start, you can get a better idea of the damage and determine what needs to be done – some lawns may just need fertilizing, where others may need power raking, top dressing and overseeding.

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This we recommend be done in early spring when the weather is cooler and the rain helps with seed germination.

We are extremely fortunate, here in the Lower Mainland, that we can work in our gardens almost year-round – unless we get a two foot snowfall – but cleanup and preparation in the fall is one of the most important times.

So get out there and enjoy the cooler temperatures and all the beautiful colours that fall brings!

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– Pam Erikson is owner of Erikson’s Daylily Gardens

and Perennials and president of the Langley Garden Club

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gardeningLangley

 

Lawns need help after harsh summer temperatures, dahlia tubers need to be dug up and dried, and some pruning is recommended as fall approaches. Bella the cat is helping garden expert Pam Erikson in the nursery, as autumn arrives and she endeavours to take care of all these gardening tasks and more. (Pam Erikson/Special to Langley Advance Times)

Lawns need help after harsh summer temperatures, dahlia tubers need to be dug up and dried, and some pruning is recommended as fall approaches. Bella the cat is helping garden expert Pam Erikson in the nursery, as autumn arrives and she endeavours to take care of all these gardening tasks and more. (Pam Erikson/Special to Langley Advance Times)

Lawns need help after harsh summer temperatures, dahlia tubers need to be dug up and dried, and some pruning is recommended as fall approaches. Bella the cat is helping garden expert Pam Erikson in the nursery, as autumn arrives and she endeavours to take care of all these gardening tasks and more. (Pam Erikson/Special to Langley Advance Times)