Mid-fall is an unpredictable time of year. In cold regions quite severe frosts can suddenly strike, while in mild climates some plants are still growing and tender plants may go on flowering for a while. This is the time to listen to the weather forecast and to be on the alert, in particular, for frost warnings.
Mid-fall is the time to create and dig over any new flower beds for next spring, weeding them carefully. Collect seed from flowers, keeping it dry until sowing.
Dahlias should be lifted now. Once the leaves are blackened by frost, dig them up, cut off the stems, turn them upside down in a frost-free place to dry, and then store over winter in a box of vermiculite or other suitable material. They will need an occasional sprinkling of water so that they do not dry out.
In your flower garden you have to:
– make a new lawn from turf or seed,
– give an established lawn fall care treatment,
– plant bare-root and potted trees, hedges, roses and shrubs,
– plant herbaceous plants,
– divide over-large herbaceous plants,
– clear summer bedding,
– plant spring bulbs,
– protect vulnerable plants and shrubs when frost is threatened,
– cut down and lift dahlias blackened by frost,
– sow sweet peas in pots,
– take tender fuchsias, pelargoniums and chrysanthemums indoors for the winter,
– remove tender aquatic plants from the pond and keep them in a plastic container with water,
– prepare the pond for winter.
Fall is the best time to plant a new hedge. Check planting distances and depths and water well.
To revive a lawn in poor condition, apply a fall lawn seed.
Pack dahlia tubers in a well-insulated box with vermiculite, wood shaving, peat substitute, sand or crumpled newspaper placed between them. Keep in a frost-free location.
As a space saving alternative to keeping large plants indoors over winter, pelargoniums can be cut down and stored in trays of damp potting mix. The trays shoud be at least 15 cm (6 in) deep.
Rake out submerged oxygenating plants such as elodea so that they do not clog the pond.