By Annie Thornton, Houzz
I like having options — from which flavor of tea to drink after lunch to which route I’ll take to walk home. Gardening this month is no different. Whether you’re after garden chores or perhaps some seasonal puttering, it’s all about picking your own path.
You can prep soil for spring planting, divide grasses and transplant perennials, even tuck in more cool-season edibles. Alternatively, you can just enjoy fall’s splendor and put off some of the season’s more tedious tasks. Let fallen leaves provide hearty mulch for your lawns and hold off, for now, on cutting back spent summer and fall plants. Instead, take some time to sit back and watch the leaves change. It’s your garden, so enjoy it. Here’s what you can do in your garden this October.
Pomegranate Tree, original photo on Houzz
"Pomegranates symbolize fall in Mediterranean climates," Marken writes. "Like early Christmas ornaments, the fat, round red fruits hang heavy on spindly branches along with small leaves turning an autumn yellow. For a container, look for a dwarf variety such as 'Nana', displaying fall foliage and tiny red fruits if you're lucky."
Water management is still important this month. "Continue to monitor and reset the timers on any controllers you may have, especially in the low and middle zones. As temperatures decrease, reduce the water needed," writes New Mexico landscape designer David Cristiani.
"If you are planning a landscape for a barren area or for an area outside plant roots, create water harvesting opportunities to benefit plantings and some visual interest by installing subtle basins, swales and berms away from structures, where lush plantings are desired," he says.
J. Peterson Garden Design, original photo on Houzz
Le jardinet, original photo on Houzz
"Refresh your container gardens with a selection of winter-hardy evergreen shrubs, perennials and seasonal color spots," says landscape designer Karen Chapman.
For a festive fall arrangement, she says that "small conifers, bright spurge (Euphorbia spp) and evergreen sedums are easy candidates for containers — especially when dressed up with a few cheerful pansies."
It's also time to plant spring-blooming bulbs — even in containers. "Dwarf daffodils, hyacinths and crocuses are just a few of the possibilities," Chapman says.
Barbara Pintozzi, original photo on Houzz
"While the autumn color often continues into November, the big show comes in October, as shown with this sumac (Rhus copallina)," writes Illinois garden coach Barbara Pintozzi. "Foliage’s dramatic color change is the result of cool nights and sunny days."
Related: Great Design Tree - Japanese Maple
Renea suggests "making your own tea mixes for winter. I combine stevia with various herbs for unique and cheap teas. As long as I have fresh herbs, though, I'll brew up a batch every single evening until my luck runs out."
Gardening with Confidence, original photo on Houzz
When prepping the garden for winter, "Don’t be so quick to tidy up,"says North Carolina garden writer Helen Yoest. "The remains of the summer and fall garden give shelter, food and cover for wildlife, while also adding winter interest to garden beds."
Shown here "is a praying mantis egg case I found one year while cutting back my garden," she continues. "It was at this point I learned to slow down my fall pruning until the spring, when the leaves were cleared away and overwintering wildlife was easier to see."
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