For now I have been watering like crazy every week. It takes me a few days to water too so it is an ongoing and slow process. I am sure the water company just loves me. I will be talking of that soon since they are about to majorly upset my world.
Here are some things I am doing or planning to do in my garden:
1) Continue to cut cool season grasses, overseed and aerate. (when rain is imminent)
2) Rake leaves. I use mine for mulch and compost many as well. Keep leaves off from grass if at all possible.
3) Divide perennials and move as necessary (When isn't it necessary?) Some perennials I am dividing and moving: hostas, daylilies, sedums, ornamental grasses. Peonies are also best divided in the fall if you want more plants, if not leave them alone so they get real big.
4) Fall is a great time to plant shrubs and some perennials. If you buy potted mums they need to be in the ground by mid month at the latest if they will stand a chance of coming back next year. They need time to establish their roots prior to freezing weather. This is the same with most perennials before they go dormant. Shrubs are more hardy and can usually be planted anytime the ground is not frozen. I have been known to dig up and move shrubs in January, with no adverse effects on the shrub.
5) Bring in your houseplants before the temperatures drop below 50 degrees. Dip or treat with insecticide if so desired.
6) I have taken many cuttings but am continuing even now. Some fall cuttings to take are: lantana, 'Powis Castle', Angel Trumpets, Iberis, Night blooming jasmine, PG hydrangeas, heliotrope, and coleus among others.
7) Don't trim trees or shrubs at this time as it will encourage new growth which will not harden off prior to the cold settling in. This includes roses. I usually trim my very few roses in early spring, trees in January or February, and depending on the type of shrub, usually in January or February to late spring, or after bloom (if it is a spring blooming shrub).
8) If you use Bayer Advanced Tree and Shrub Care (which I just started using last year), you might want to apply it now or anytime this winter. Always apply when good rains are expected. Its effects generally last one year. I use it on azaleas, oaks, and this year my little birch due to the double sawfly invasion this past summer.
9) Mulch garden beds. Conventional wisdom says to wait until the ground freezes. Problem is, the ground rarely freezes and stays frozen here in Tennessee. I mulch whenever I have the leaves. Take care to keep mulch at least 6 inches from the trunks of shrubs and trees.
10) I don't normally cut back my perennials until early spring, (Peonies are the exception and should be cut down and the foliage thrown in the trash-always) but if you like a tidy garden, here are a few you may like to cut back: hostas, daylilies, gaura, and irises . I generally do not cut back the following: mums, asters, Joe Pye weed, coneflowers, salvia, ornamental grasses, bee balm, and lantana. I believe the foliage, though dried and black, to be somewhat attractive in the winter garden plus I think it helps to protect the crown of the perennial.
11) Feed the birds that do not migrate. This is especially important if we have a harsh winter. Most hummingbirds should be gone by the end of the month, however, leaving the feeders up will not harm the hummingbirds-as they migrate when they are ready. I still notice hummingbirds humming around here.
12) Keep birdbaths clean and free of debris and full as long as the water is not frozen. Bring in concrete birdbaths or cover with a plastic wrap if you are not going to use them this winter. Prepare your water heaters for use now so you won't be left short when the weather gets really cold. I have both a pond heater and birdbath heater. They come in handy at certain times and I can tell you the birds appreciate water that is not frozen on the coldest days in winter.
13) Cover your pond with screening material if you can. If not, clean the debris out of the pond in a timely manner.
14) Store patio furniture.
15) Dig up tender bulbs such as: dahlias and caladiums. Store in peat moss. I place mine in my crawl space but any place where they will not freeze is acceptable. I have begun digging mine now. I found that if I waited until the first frost, I could not locate my caladiums, they simply vanished. Dahlia stems were still visible though.
16) Store your Boston ferns in your crawl space too. Make sure they are well watered prior to closing them up for the winter.
17) Begin planting spring bulbs late this month. You don't want to plant them too early.
18) Plant garlic and onions. Also, go ahead and give some fall crops a chance to grow by planting starts from: cauliflower, broccoli, peas, and cabbage. I am also going to be trying some fall crops from seeds such as: lettuce and mesclun.
19) Continue to weed as necessary.
20) Dig tender perennials if you so desire. Some I plan to dig are: Angel Trumpets (small ones only), and a holly fern. There are probably more you can dig, but this is it for my garden digging and storing. I like to save most from cuttings as they take up less room. These plants will go under the house with the Boston ferns. A post will be forthcoming on the process and what the results were this past spring.
21) If a hard freeze is predicted and you still have tomatoes in the garden, pick all of the green tomatoes and place in a double paper bag in an unheated area such as a garage. The tomatoes will slowly ripen over the next few months. I have actually eaten tomatoes ripened this was in January. You do want to check them every few days for rotten ones, as sometimes there is a bad one or two.
22) Plant pansies!
in the garden....
The camelias have begun their yearly bloom, as shown in the picture above. This camelia pictured above is blooming a few months earlier this year than last. Not sure why but I am enjoying the start of the winter roses.
I made several stones in this batch and still have more to make for Master Gardener door prizes (one of these days!). The little "Hi" stone is just a stone I made with the leftover concrete. There was not enough to do anything else with it so I wind up with a bunch of these little ones around the garden.