Summer is a joyous time for the backyards of the Hudson Valley. As the sun shines and the grass grows green, home gardens thrive with beaming flowers and abundant tomato plants.
Come fall, however, the landscape changes – literally – as warm weather greenery fades and autumn leaves slowly make their way to the ground. As far as gardens go, autumn is prime time to get a jump on planning for the following year.
To prepare for the season, Hudson Valleyite Blythe Yost, the co-founder and head designer of online landscape design firm Tilly, shared her tips and tricks for autumn gardening to ensure your backyard is good to go before the first frost arrives.
Throwing on your gardening gloves might be the last thing on your mind once fall temperatures hit, but that’s precisely what you should do, Yost reveals. According to her, the early weeks of the season are the best time to plant bulbs designed to bloom in springtime.
“As soon as the weather stays reliably chilly, it’s time to think about planting bulbs,” she notes, adding that bulbs tend to be much more forgiving than you might think. Autumn gardening is a feasible activity. “You can dig a hole, throw a handful of daffodils in, and cover them up – no need to worry about their spacing or directionality. They will come up and look like a lovely little natural grouping.”
Adding new plants is only part of the autumn gardening to-do list. On the other side of the spectrum, fall is also the time to give an eye to the perennials that are already in your yard. Large, unruly plants, for instance, should be divided, replanted, or even relocated if they no longer fit their present location. If you’re worried that the move will disrupt the growing process, don’t fret!
“Planting in cooler weather allows for good root growth with a lower amount of water than is necessary to nurture the same plants through sprint and summer,” Yost explains.
During the landscaping and maintenance process, it’s inevitable that gaps will occur. To remedy the lumps and bumps, Yost recommends transplanting groundcover to fill in weaker spots. Pulling coverage from the backyard border to fill in holes and crevices near the front of the front of the house will help to balance the overall space.
Mulch is like a blanket. That’s why it’s perfect to stock up on for autumn gardening, when tender perennials need a little extra love to survive the frostiest months of the year in the Hudson Valley. The process doesn’t require too much extra effort now but will ensure that your roses make it through winter and bloom bright.
Just as mulch makes plants cozy, compost keeps them healthy and well-fed. Dig some of it into your beds to ensure perennials have all the vitamins and minerals they need for spring.
At the same time, take a minute to remove any weeds surrounding your garden so it’s one less thing to do next year, Yost recommends. By plucking out knot weed, poke weed, and thistle now, you can help create a glowing garden before the last remnants of snow melt away.