I hate snow in the landscape. It cuts into my earnings and causes damage. Often, getting snow off your garden plants is the only-and important-job after a nasty snow fall. It's not pleasant but it's important to get the snow load off.
Remember to get the snow off gently because your plants are under stress and brittle in cold temperatures.
Overall, the bed pictured above is unremarkable and yet, it's my favourite bed. Why? Because most of the Mahonias and Nandinas were salvaged from a nearby project.
To make room for new Berberis thunbergii plants the Mahonias and Nandinas had to go. Normally the unwanted plants are chucked on the back of the truck and hauled away as green waste.
Not so fast.
I knew that this bed was mostly bare and close by so I moved the rejects to this area and they're doing fine.
So, next time you're editing plants in your garden, don't throw out your perfectly healthy specimens. Move them somewhere or give them to your friends.
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.
Vas Sladek, B.Sc., CLT