I'm enjoying the transition between seasons--savoring the waning days of summer, and looking forward to cool, crisp fall days. I also notice the transition in my work. Work outside in the gardens continues--but is lessening, while my work readying the shop for the fall and holiday season is increasing. There are some things I must remind myself of as the seasons shift. One has to do with watering plants. During the summer, I soak the plants daily, so they can stand up to the high temps and remain healthy. As fall approaches, and the weather cools down, I must remind myself to cut back and water just as necessary, allowing the plants to dry out between waterings. It's the same for houseplants--cut back on the amount you water as temperatures moderate. Also start to cut down on fertilizing. Plant growth will slow down and in some cases, go dormant, as we approach winter. Start slowly tapering off fertilizing indoor plants.
Work still remains outside. Time to start thinking about harvesting annuals before frost comes. It's a perfect time to make pesto with your basil harvest. If you want blooming annuals to reseed next year, allow flowers to die on the stalk. If the seed is hardy, allow it to fall for reseeding next spring. If the seed isn't hardy, you can gather and store it, then plant next year after our last frost date.
I often talk to customers about how much I enjoy end of season plants. As the garden winds down, some things just stand out in their amazing late season display. Red pineapple sage flowers and fuzzy purple mexican bush sage are starting to bloom and boy, each one is stunning. Pineapple sage has its bright color, sweetness and yummy scent. Mexican bush sage has beautiful color and texture. Annual vines are at their peak now. One of my favorite part shade perennials is anemone. They bloom pink or white, resemble a single rose and with adequate moisture, bloom bountifully. And my snaps always look better in the fall. I love them as a cut flower and they usually bloom longer for me than anything else--even mums.
The sweet autumn clematis is blooming. It always reminds me of a fragrant white cloud on top of the pergola. The fragrance is floral, but not overly sweet--a combination of floral and fresh. The other vine on the pergola--jasmine--did not bloom at all this year. Two severe winters took their toll. The plants survived, but they died back all the way to the ground. We really cleaned them out and they had lots of new growth this summer. The tallest hasn't reached the top of the pergola yet. I'm hoping for a milder winter--for their benefit.