What will you do during the extra hour granted to you the day before we turn our clocks back at 2 a.m. on November 5th? Here are 10 ways I could use that extra hour in my landscape:
- Cut back hostas in one of the shade gardens. Removing hosta foliage in the fall reduces winter shelter for slugs and exposes their eggs to the frogs and toads that call my garden home. If you’re using your extra hour to cut back perennials, here are some guidelines on what to cut and what to leave standing.
- Cut down those ornamental grasses that collapse with the first snow. As much as I love the interest and structure ornamental grasses provide in winter, a few of the Panicum virgatum cultivars in my landscape are planted in a bit too much shade. They stand reasonably tall throughout the season but when snow of any consequence falls, they lie down and look messy the rest of winter.
- Plant more bulbs in the garden. I love the large, attention-grabbing flowers of daffodils, tulips and allium, but I also admire the minor bulbs, welcoming their early color as they announce spring is on the way. And I can plant a lot of these small bulbs in an hour. If you want to spend your extra hour planting minor bulbs, read more about them.
- Plant a few more bulbs in pots. I plant them so close together they’re almost shoulder to shoulder and layer small bulbs like crocuses or grape hyacinths over daffodils and tulips. After watering lightly, they spend the winter in the garage waiting patiently for spring. Here’s how I plant bulbs in pots – step by step.
- Add shredded leaves to the sunny perennial borders. With the mulching blades on our riding lawn mower, the fallen leaves are shredded and bagged when our large lawn is mowed. It’s pretty easy to empty the bags in the gardens, spreading shredded leaves a couple inches deep around perennials.
- Bury the birch tree I will not be able to plant this fall. In order to save several hundred dollars, we are putting off cutting down a huge weeping willow until winter. That means the river birch that’s been waiting to be planted will not make it in the ground this fall. To save it for planting in the spring, it will be ‘planted’ – pot and all – in the garden, watered thoroughly and mulched heavily.
- Pick up the branches that fell during strong winds we had last week. Our yard is home to many silver maples – thirsty-rooted, weak-wooded trees – that drop pieces of themselves as fast as they grow (and they grow fast).
- Turn over the glazed pots left in the garden for the winter. I like to use large glazed pots for pops of color and textural contrast in the garden. To make the impact I want, they must be large and heavy. Too heavy for me to move in and out of the garden every year. To reduce breakage caused by freezing and thawing of soil or water in them, I turn them over and make sure they are not sitting directly on the soil.
- Weed the area around the pond. This area, that includes two small flagstone patios, a bog garden, and a rock garden, is seen all winter through windows in the master bedroom and the great room.
- Clean leaves out of the pond. If leaves are left to break down in the pond, they reduce available oxygen for fish.
I guess I could use about 10 days of daylight saving time ending! But then, who couldn’t use more time in the garden? Garden with me!