Not many plants flower in the fall so it's fun to run into the odd outlier. One of them is Fatsia japonica. I "discovered" this specimen during routine maintenance work. I knew it was there but this was the first time I'd seen it flowering. And it made my day on an otherwise routine fall day.
Fatsias have big, interesting leaves and they're happy in shady corners. If you get one, make sure you give it plenty of space.
Your lawn should look great every time you mow it. And yet, I see line-crossing all the time. This happens when your mow is done and you exit poorly by crossing over your fresh laser lines. It looks awful.
If you have to exit by taking the long way out, so be it. Never cross your lines.
The mow season is almost done so it's a great time to review what went well and not so well. One important key is to alternate your mow direction once in a while or off-set your starting points. If you always mow from the same starting point you will develop unsightly ruts in your lawn.
It's OK to mow diagonally once in a while or start farther away from the curb. The goal is a good-looking uniform green lawn, one not dominated by deep ruts.
I really enjoy helping busy people upgrade their gardens and the fall is a great time to do it. Once the clean-up is completed, you can relax all winter and dream up new projects for spring.
Just this week I received a referral from a client-always nice and much appreciated!- to go see his friend about his backyard. The first text message was priceless: "I haven't touched the backyard in four years and I think there are some new trees growing." Great! Four years isn't so bad. I've seen worse.
So I went in to see it and the four trees are cottonwoods which most likely drifted in with the wind. If we allowed them to grow to maturity they would tower over the backyard. I will remove them and then do some shrub pruning and weeding. The lawn will get one last cut.
If you ever feel overwhelmed or time-stressed, please give me a call. I can help you!
"Can I mow my lawn after rain?" is a common question. Homeowners always have the luxury of delaying their lawn mowing until conditions improve. Commercial operators have to respect their contracts and cut on schedule.
Check out the picture below. The lawn was soaked and the contractor wanted to get paid so he cut it. Bad move. It looks horrific and I doubt his clients were excited when they got home. It would have been better to wait, even if the grass was already long.
Why? It looks ugly and it's easy for machines to rip up the lawn; or cause deep ruts.
So, yes, you can mow your lawn after rain but if your mower starts to make tracks, give up and wait.
I personally dislike empty spaces in gardens and so does nature. Left empty, this spot will invite opportunistic weeds to move in and then it'll be my job to remove them.
A much better solution would be to plant something in this space. My previous blog was about Hostas and they would fit here very well. Also ferns and other shade loving plants.
You can experiment with shade loving plants and it doesn't even have to cost too much. You can dig up native sword ferns (Polystichum munitum) in the woods-discreetly, of course!-or visit spring plant sales.
Dead spaces look awful in gardens and they will inevitably invite weeds in. Plant something instead.
Hostas are beautiful plants and they come in many different varieties. Some are tiny and some have huge leaves. By summer they produce flowers and once the flowers fade you can cut back the flower stalks.
By late fall the leaves will fade and you will have to flush cut all of it. Then you can look forward to next year.
By far the biggest mistake I see with Hostas is their placement. Hostas are shade plants which is why they are placed in a corner on my humble patio. Out in the open sun they suffer.
Hostas are perennials so they pop up every year. All you have to do towards the end of summer is cut back the flower stalks. Then, once they leaves start to fade in the fall, you can flush cut the entire plant.
Hostas are great plants but make sure they have shade!
Weeding doesn't have to be long and stressful. You can do it quickly as you walk by. Plus it gives you a chance to look at your garden and enjoy some fresh air.
I did this recently. I noticed the beautiful white morning glory flowers and photographed them before ruthlessly pulling the plan off my Skimmia. If you don't do it, it will just keep going. I know, the pulling doesn't eradicate it but it slows it down.
Another common enemy is crabgrass (Digitaria). It causes problems in lawns and it's especially ugly in planted beds. You can't let it go. Pull it nicely with roots and dispose of it.
Weeding can actually be fun. You can learn about common weeds and make your garden look better at the same time. Some weeds are fascinating.
Again, if you're too busy to weed, give me a call or text. I would be happy to help.
My kids will be heading to school next week which means summer is over. Now it's time to think about your cedar hedges. It might be nice to give them some shape so they look great for the next twelve months.
Do this work on a cooler day and use sharp shears. Of course, if you need help, all you have to do is call or text.
Below are pictures from a recently completed project. The elderly couple was extremely happy to have their hedges done now so they can enjoy them on their back patio; and when they drive home.
The actual shearing only took a few hours, including raking and clean-up blow.
And while you're at it, why not prune your shrubs and touch up your planted beds.
Landscapers do their very best to make sure their clients' lawns look great. They cut at the proper height with nice laser lines and everything gets nicely edged. Then they step back to admire their work and hope their clients feel the same way. And chances are, they do.
But I found out what really makes the men of the house really happy. Sure the lawns look great but driveway crack weeds are a constant source of irritation because they are hard to get at and they come back.
So in comes landscape pro Vas with his line edger turned on the side and on low power. This destroys all crack weeds; just make sure you wear eye protection and close your mouth because often there are stray pebbles that get propelled out of the cracks.
Do this on lower power so you don't blow out your own windows or damage parked cars nearby.
I expect to do this periodically throughout the season but it's better than pouring down nasty chemicals that wash off into our fish habitat.
If your driveway has nasty crack weeds, line trim them out or give me a call.
Vas Sladek, B.Sc., CLT