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You won’t catch anyone here complaining, but two weekends ago it rained from Friday night to Sunday night almost without stopping. It was a nice, steady rain that added up to 2.5 inches over the course of the weekend and boy were gardeners, myself included, happy. Of course it put a major crimp in my plans to clean up the garden for fall, but I spent the weekend refinishing the coffee table (and I’m still working on it, of course).

The last of the flowers cut from the garden. From my instagram feed.

This weekend was another story entirely and I took advantage of the beautiful fall days to get a few things taken care of. The first thing I did was a very thorough cleaning of the raised garden. I’ve found that it’s very important to get every bit of plant material and every stray tomato out of there to ensure the soil’s health. I plant that garden pretty intensely, which I get away with by adding lots of compost and babying it a bit, but that means it’s all that much more prone to diseases, so the more I can remove in fall, the better.

Last year it worked out very well to heel the plants I didn’t have a chance to plant in the garden into the raised bed and I intend to do the same this year. I just covered them with a ton of chopped leaves (no shortage of those at our house) which helps protect the young plants during winter and then get turned into the soil in spring.

I also cleaned out the containers that were spent, including the large container by the front door with the  papyrus ‘King Tut’ in the center. It always amazes me how many roots that plant puts out in a summer, which is exactly why I contain it in a three-gallon nursery pot that I sink into the container. I have no doubt it would take over the container if I didn’t.

Check out all those roots!

Although most of the really colorful trees have already dropped their leaves (the rain and wind from the previous weekend took care of most of them), I was delighted to notice how pretty the climbing hydrangea (anomala petiolaris) is looking with its chartreuse leaves on the now-bare ash tree. 
There is lots more to do in the garden, but I’m delaying cutting anything (other than the Rudbeckia and Echinacea, which I don’t want to seed everywhere) back until we get a real frost or freeze (no sign of either of those yet here) because I think they need as much time with their foliage as possible after the tough year they’ve had. I like to do as much as I can in fall so ease the spring workload, but I also like to enjoy some of the plants in winter.
How’s your garden clean-up going? Or are you one of the lucky ones who doesn’t have to clean up your garden for fall.

4 Responses

  1. I just found your blog. So cute! My garden in Shorewood is in desperate need of a cleanup. Finally got out there today in the warm weather and got started!

  2. I'm envious, Erin, of all the work you've accomplished. We've had a very busy October with a lot of rain and my garden is feeling neglected. Hopefully I'll get out there tomorrow morning as the weather is supposed to be gorgeous – finally dig out those last tomatoes and plant some bulbs. The leaves can wait.

    1. Fortunately Mr. Much More Patient takes on almost all leaf-related duties. Thanks goodness otherwise that would be monumental task. I do like to rake some of them out of the beds but he takes it from there. For the first time ever, I'm not planting any bulbs this fall. It's always such a drag letting all that foliage die off and I have a LOT of daffodils out there already. Nice to get a spell of warm weather though!

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