Gardening Tip of the Month
By Yvonne Steingruby, Parks Superintendent
There is still plenty to do in the garden as weather permits. Now is a great time to plant trees and shrubs, winterize irrigation systems and spigots, collect seeds, plant bulbs, prepare holiday containers, and one last weeding and removal of fading annuals in the garden. As leaves begin to fall, best practices to manage this valuable resource, including blowing them into the beds to act as a mulch during the winter or for a tidier look, mulch the leaves with a lawnmower or line- trim and blow them into the gardens. In the parks, we strive to mulch the leaves in place as food for microbes, and habitat for pollinators. Some Park locations require a more groomed appearance or tend to be too small for mulching in place, so we vacuum and compost them at the Service Center. Ultimately it is best to “leave the leaves”. Also, try not to be tempted to trim all of your perennials down to the ground, until late winter. If you must trim perennials and ornamental grasses, it helps pollinators overwinter if you leave the hollow stems at least 18-20” tall. Leaving seed heads will attract birds and give winter interest to the garden. Don’t forget to go for a walk or drive in the Parks and soak in the fall color! The sassafras, red maples, sumac, and Virginia creeper are starting the show color in Blackburn Park. Beautyberry is a sight to see in the bird sanctuary and the asters are blooming nicely in Lockwood Park. Pollinators are still working over plants that offer a late bloom such as goldenrod, catmint, and aster. Happy Autumn!