September 2010

News Archive

Betty Nostrand, Editor
Ann Rivenes, Publisher

September sun ……………………………………………….in the garden.......                                            

……as I write this it is over 100 for about the first time this summer so who knows what the Fall will bring!  Will the colors turn earlier?  Will we still have high heat through Sept.?  Who knows!  But this time is of year is the ‘second spring’ around here and a good time to plant while the soil is still warm.  If it is too warm then you need to protect new plantings with a bit of temporary shade but you want to get them in while the soil is warm enough to generate new roots and get them set for the winter.  This is a good time to get plants in 4” pots or larger so they already have a root system started.

……many nurseries and Horticultural Organizations will have sales so they don’t have to keep plants over the winter so look for ads or notices in the paper of where and when.  Even if perennials have ‘done their thing’ for this summer, if they have a good root system they will be ready to plant and get established for a big show next year in your garden.  Before you head off to the sale, study your garden and note areas that need more or different plants so you have some idea of what you are looking for and what will really improve your garden.

…….its time for bulbs to start appearing in the nurseries or arriving in the mail if you ordered them from a catalog.  Early selection at nurseries will insure that they are kept (by you) in a cool dark place until planting or in the refrigerator for several weeks for tulips (just not near apples that give off a gas that will inhibit bloom in tulips).  Showy tulips, mainly an annual around here, will look great in pots now if you overplant with pansies or parsley.  When the bulbs bloom they will have a ‘skirt’ of flowers and greenery and in the meantime the pots look good. Several of my pansies that I planted with bulbs last year are still blooming away around summer plants.

…..I have an ‘ornamental’ grape vine that has decided after many years to bear fruit.  The grapes aren’t good to eat or do much of anything with but the birds love the grapes and manage to have them go right through their systems on to patio and sidewalk for lovely purple stains so I try to cut off every cluster of grapes before the birds get to them – maybe cruel to the birds but better for the patio and sidewalks and my floors from anyone tracking the dropped fruit into the house!  I love the fall colors of the grape leaves so don’t want to give that up.

…..Deadheading this time of year will prolong the blooms on many annuals and perennials through the Fall so keep at it.  Some plants have wonderful seed heads so leave those for their aesthetic value and the fun of seeing birds perched on the stems eating them.

…..Deadhead roses and give them a feeding and deep watering so they’ll produce a final round of blooms in the Fall.  Note which varieties have not produced well or have had lots of pest or disease problems and plan to replace them over the winter.  There are hundreds of kinds of roses so don’t waste energy and worry on ones that are not suited to your location.

…..Morning is the best time to cut flowers to have in arrangements.  They have the most moisture in them at that time.  Sunflowers and other thick stemmed flowers cut be cut vertically up the stem to open up more cells to soak up the water.  Take off any leaves, stems, or buds that would be under water in the vase so they don’t get mungy.  Place the vase with the prepared flowers in a cool, dark place for a few hours so they can get used to their new situation and they will last a bit longer in the final arrangement.

……I’m not sure what they have done to coleus but they are almost a hardy plant now.  They seem to be happy in sun or shade and certainly add color in any area with their leaves.  Pinch off any blooms stalks to prolong their leafy beauty.  I don’t think they have made them winter hardy yet so at the first hard frost they are gone but otherwise they sure are workhorses in the garden.  And we hope our first hard frost is months and months away!

Even if something is left undone, everyone must take time to sit still and watch the leaves turn.
-Elizabeth Lawrence

Livermore Valley Garden Club (LAVGC) serving the Tri-Valley: Dublin, Livermore, Pleasanton, Sunol, and San Ramon