Officially Autumn- fall garden chores

Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

Autumnal Equinox today. What fall garden chores will you do/ want advice on/ are you avoiding/ wish some good fairy would come do for you? etc
Picture of Chrysanthemeum from sample pics sorry! Mine are just in tight bud.

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Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

Save all those fall leaves- and watch for my article about good soil fungus that eats them.I think this is one of Gita's secrets to beautiful flowers, and she may not even have known it directly. She saves fall leaves and lets them rot in bags, then uses them around plants. Very good!

Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

I'll need to see about when to let Caladiums dry out- ? are they getting feeble due to short day length, running out of fertility? SHould I withhold water, and if so when?

I just read that my Plumeria is starting to yellow a bit due to day length signals. And- I think I have some tiny buds - Hallelujah! But then I'll have to think about digging up that and Brug monsters -agh!

Anderson, IN(Zone 6a)

Mine will mostly be clean-up shortly pots into storage barrels ,getting plants mulched and the mulch to where it is put.
Then if time and weather allows cutting back non-winter interest stems in and around the flower gardens.

Damascus, MD(Zone 7a)

Ooooh, I don't even know where to start. In addition to the annual clean-up, winterizing bulbs and plants, and mulching, the lawn needs a major overhaul. I also need to redo about 80% of the garden by dividing and transplanting. Also need more top soil :-(

Anderson, IN(Zone 6a)

sallyg ; since it is the weekend, this bud's just for you, and after a few more i would probably ask if there is more room in that fridge you have.
2or 3 pots of these.I think that's enough only now I have more to plant for next year, And then I can do this all over again,fun, fun, fun.

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Baltimore, MD(Zone 7a)

Yesterday and the day before--I actually tackled and finished a most avoided, procrastinated
job of all. But the weather was cool and I had 2 days to kill. So I almost "killed" myself
with this chore....
Cleaning out my shed--everything out on the lawn, cleaned and swept and all pots sorted and stacked by sizes.
Thursday I worked at this 8 hours straight, sustained by 2 pain pills. Friday I worked 7 1/2 hrs straight...
Had to get it all done!
Glad this HUGE job is finally done....

Right now--I am not thinking of the next one--but I know what it has to be---
I have to treat EVERY single pot that is to come inside with Systemic Granules
so that I do not bring any critters into the house. Been lucky so far...

Another "must do" is to take Coleus cuttings to root. Nights are getting mighty cool--
and Coleus do not like cool all that much.

1--Now--to prove how pack-ratty I am with pots--look here...
2--This is some of the other stuff that was removed....the stuff on the shelves
on both sides inside the shed--was still in there. Still 100's of pots!
3--These were all the clay pots that were inside the shed...Thinking I will put them in my basement--
but maybe I will put them back in the shed. After I organized everything--I gained some open spaces..
4--Pots--all nice and neat....

Believe me--there was a lot more done than just stacking pots--lots more!

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Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

wow juhur, must be some patch of J chokes!

Gita, so tidy now! Kudos!

Anderson, IN(Zone 6a)

I have to big old time garbage cans I throw all my pots into, darn right I'm quick and lazy.However the fall cleaning the garage is yet to come!I might have a week or two for that , only not to dread and not to look forward to,glad the garage is there and not happy to clean it either.
I just hope it is not too cold this winter and not as hot next summer,last winter wasn't bad here, mostly rain, only wow was this a summer! Made it hard to get much done in the day, and night for some of us that don't see as well, or have animals around is rather out.
We have frost tonight and tomorrow night so our warm season in the garden has come to an end.Little early for that only not unusual.

Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

Frost! Perish the thought! I am wondering where the h-e double toothpicks all these plants will go in my house !! It becomes sort of like picking a team. First round picks are assured spots in the best windows, then second round picks come in but have to eke it out in the basement maybe.

Odenton, MD(Zone 7b)

I'm thinking I need to head back to the townhouse to dig up my plants that I want to keep and clean up the annuals. Still not sure if I want to do it today or keep putting it off. If good things come to those who wait, why is procrasination bad?

Salem Cnty, NJ(Zone 7b)

Oh, heehehe, I hear you loud and clear on that catbird. I just am having a hard time doing it.

Lucketts, VA(Zone 7a)

Gita, cleaning out your shed sounds quite a job! Doesn't it feel great to complete a chore like that? My biggest goal is to get the garden beds cleaned up and ready for spring. Made a small dent with weeding yesterday before heading out to a birthday party for a 3 year old. Great weather.

Baltimore, MD(Zone 7a)

Have a Dr.'s appointment this AM.
When I get home--i WILL take as many Coleus cuttings as i can. Getting a bit chilly
at night--and they tend to decline in cold weather.

I do not like that this colder weather has hit so suddenly and so early.
Geez! it is still September!!!

My Brugs are all blooming! Likely for the last time--which usually happens in October.

OK! Gotta run...

Central, MD(Zone 7a)

Time to start the great migration!

Baltimore, MD(Zone 7a)

Gorgeous day out there--as they have all been--it is the nights that worry me...
Tonight--mid 40's. Hmmmm....

Did my Coleus cuttings--and also 2 6-packs of Persian Shield. First time doing this.
Paul--you inspired me to try....

--Here are the newly potted Coleus cuttings. They will now reside under my seed set-up lights.
This rack is in my bedroom by a bright window to boot. Easy to keep an eye on.

--Also---My Maya Brug is blooming at this time. Shabby leaves and all! Chewed up!
--My Brazilian Plume is getting huge! Has about 3-4 new blooms.
That is a 6"pot of begonias below it-for size comparison. To think I cut it back to almost nubs last fall!
--Can you believe this??? The Dr. Seuss is taking over! It just bloomed. I know there will bw one more flush.
Paul--Does this give you an idea of the size it will grow???? May even get bigger yet....

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Central, MD(Zone 7a)


Wow that is huge. Well it will be fun to see it grow!!! I don't mind digging it out of the ground every year. I'm glad to see you were inspired to do the persian shield cuttings, they are very easy. I actually just took coleus cuttings tonight but I put three to 4 inch by 6 inch pot. I might try and sterilize some 6 packs and try a few your way Gita, they look amazing. I experimented a little with dipping some w/roottone some without. I love the colors in the coleus pictures. Thumbs up!

Crozet, VA

Gita, you caught my interest on using Systemic Granules. If you have the time and inclination, would you please share the why's and how's to use this?

I started bringing in plants today and after reading the warnings about the Coleus, I see that my work for the day is not done, and I need to mozey out and cart in some of the potted Coleus cuttings and take more cuttings. Thanks for the reminder....don't know where my mind was earlier, but truthfully didn't know they were that susceptible to coolness. I knew I was reading this thread for some reason.....

Anyway......Sally I am definitely right there with you in terms of running short on plant space. I haven't yet counted, and may not ever, but a couple of summers ago John counted and said he stopped counting when he hit two hundred pots. Good grief, have I gone mad?!?!....don't answer.

I have one really great thing that has added some good plant space this year. Some years back when visiting Bec_No_Va I saw this great lighted plant stand. I had heard her say earlier in the year that she has gotten rid of a lot of her plants. I called and asked if she was using the shelf and her answer was no, and that it was currently serving as a dust collector and I please come and get it and give it a new home. I did jus that......Well, I sent John on that errand actually. It is quite a large stand and holds a lot of plants. I will try to snap a picture and post here at some point.

Since the cool temperatures the past week or so and more called for, I feel the first thing here is to get the houseplants indoors and then we can begin doing fall garden maintence chores. One of our chores this year will be somewhat like it sounds as though Donnerville is going to do.....dig up at least 80% percent of one bed, spray for sedge grass and then replant next spring. There will be lots of Hardy Geraniums, Hellebores and Heucheras for all when this is done. I will not be replanting many of the above mentioned.

Anyway....thank you so much for giving Sally the idea to get this topic up and running again Coleup and thank you so much for doing so Sally.

Hope that everyone has a very enjoyable week.


Central, MD(Zone 7a)

What kind of over wintering I should I do for the geraniums? Cut them back hyard?

Baltimore, MD(Zone 7a)


--Three years ago--this Dr. S. Brug was a rooted cutting. So--the stem cutting was taken in the fall of 2009.
--Rooted over the winter in a pot under my lights. Later by my kitchen door. (the one i never use)
--Grown out to a med. sized plant in summer of 2010
--Kept dormant all winter in my Shop (winter 2010)
--Grew bigger all through summer 2011. Just like now--wide and sprawled--like an open umbrella.
--Cut back last fall so it would fit in my basement. Every stem cutting rooted over last winter.
Had like 25 of them. Had a lot to give away at the May Swap.
--This winter I will need to also cut it back--seriously. I do not really want to mess with rooting them again.
At least--not any more that a few cuttings. What to do????? What to do????
Everyone that wanted one now has one.

Anyway--Paul--this monstrosity is growing in a 3 or 5 gal. black nursery pot with the holes cut out around the pot.
This is the least harmful way to grow and dig them up--as I explained in the Brug. Primer.

Systemic Granules (or liquid) will kill any critter that has set up housekeeping in your pots.
Do this at least 2 weeks before you bring the plants in. Like NOW!

Do not freak out about the temp. being in the 40's at night. Many plants can take that.
i WOULD bring in the most susceptible--like Begonias, Impatiens, and any others with succulent stems (Cacti and Succulents are OK!)
This time of year--you need to pay attention to the weather forecasts. Days are warm--nights are getting cooler.

Your CC's and other cacti will be perfectly OK.

OK! Tonight starts "Dancing with the Stars" at 8PM. Gotta go watch of my favorite shows...

Good night all! Gita

Somewhere in, MD(Zone 7b)

It's a good thing I bought that bottle of systemic at work yesterday... got my "Honey Do" list to work on today, and one of my "to do's" is to take all the babies back outside (except for the Brugs, they are still outside!!) and spray them!!

What's on my "Fall stuff to do" list? Well, it's too early to move the Laurels, but I will be digging in the new pots of Verbena I brought home from work (one of the front beds is gonna get a make-over), but I **can** dig the holes out back where the Laurels will go, in preparation for the. Collect some of my hopefully-decayed leaf-stuff out front (from last year) and amend the holes, spray the Winter-indoors babies, finish cutting back the Coleus' and Setcretia that I plan to keep ... and general over-all clean up that back shelf area... crap, lots more to do than I realized, I'd better get offa here and get busy. See y'all later!! **waves**!!! < =D

Crozet, VA

Oh Lord, I am not at a loss for things to do.....just don't have much motivation to do much currently. I suppose I missed using the systemic granules this year because most of my plant came indoors yesterday. I tried to carefully spot those awful stink bugs that are back in force the past week or so. At least ten made it inside which I caught and flushed several hours after finishing bringing plants inside. I haven't really treated in years past and have done okay in terms of pests, but of course this is also the first year I had something munching on some of my plants too.

Boy did my Christmas or Holiday Cactus collection triple in size this summer. We had to set up a special table in the master bedroom last year to house them and John has decided he doesn't want that table to come back in, so not exactly sure what we will do with the holiday cactus when they do come inside. Along with Gita, Sally and Coleup all donating to the CC cause, I also placed a nursery order last spring for several of them too. Am I crazy? At least half crazy it seems.

Last year the big thing here was to pot things for market. There was basically no market this year and so I have lots of plants that I thought would be possibly sold and would be taking up residence elsewhere. The front windows of the Pharmacy where we have some plants for sale are pretty much full and can't easily hold any new plants. I suppose an idea might be to bring the ones that are now there home, and send others and hope they will sell since the others haven't seemed to want to go anywhere. The lighting in those windows are great and the plants there just love it and seem to thrive.

I will try to keep my mouth shut as much as possible and not mention the new areas of the yard that my hubby has set up nursery operations. Last year there was a large section of the front yard that he used to pot and sit many dozens of Iris. That was okay and it cut down on the mowing he had to do out there. Since last year, we now have three more spots where huge potting operations are going on. He is getting his wish it seems to have less and less lawn to mow. I have no problem with his using the space, my problem is not maintaining the spaces and allowing them to look over run and neglected. Again, will keep my mouth shut as much as possible.

Happening gardening all....


Salem Cnty, NJ(Zone 7b)

Maybe other businesses in town would be able to overwinter some for you. That just popped into my head.

Crozet, VA might be on to something Jan. I will put on my thinking cap and see what I can come up with. We are a fairly small town and with all my health issues, the pharmacy is a place we visit frequently and know all the staff. Heck, there are several restaurants that may want something for their windows too. Thank you for mentioning this. In years past when having too many plants to fit comfortably in my small home, I have been known to run ads on Freecycle to give them away or to find other plant lovers and give them all a half a car load to take with them.

Will have to check with my other half, who ends up usually doing the leg work involved in maintaining the plants and see if he wants to add a few more stops a week to his outings. Thank you so much for putting the bug in my ear.......very good suggestion. Will let you know what we decide.


Baltimore, MD(Zone 7a)

Ruby--- some more ides....

1--Does your town have a High School? many HS's have a gardening program. Some even have
small greenhouses set up inside to propagate and such.

2--Have you considered just setting up a table and having a Yard sale with plants?

3--If you really want to get rid of your plants--you can donate them to a Hospital or to a senior center
or to a Nursing home....

4--Go visit an Elementary School and give plants away to the children to take them home to their Moms.

OK! Speedie----

I gather what you bought was liquid Systemic. Right?
To kill things INSIDE the pots, you will need to water the soil with this stuff as well.
Just spraying the plant will do nothing for a colony of Ants that has set up a lair at the bottom of your popts...

That is what I always worry about. Seems ants are everywhere...I have seen trails of them come and go inside my pots.
Then I know there is an active den down there.
I just pull the whole plant out and spay the bottom of the soil with some kind of Roach and Ant spray.

The GRANULES I use take about 2 weeks to dissolve enough to do their work. That is why I need to get with it....

OK! I better get outside ans start on mine........Gita

Chevy Chase, MD(Zone 7a)

A new website about stink bugs --

Somewhere in, MD(Zone 7b)

Well, I guess it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be, I got everything done except for digging those holes...gonna have to wait for a rain 'cause that soil is just too darned hard... which means also that compost-stuff out front on the tree-line will just sit there and wait for me as well. Otherwise, all else is done, including the phone calls, filing, bathrooms clean, run to the landfill, dishes, and a few other oddes-and-ends that I have forgotten. And yes Ma'am Gita, I did get the liquid, so I watered it into the soil well, but made sure the soil wasn't dried out before I watered it in... that sort of "happy medium" place they need to be in before ya water the stuff in. We all know that "happy medium" place. =)

I am embarrassed to admit that I "found" a tray of a couple 4" pots of Coleus and Magilla Gorillas that I had forgotten about amongst my verbenas out front, eeek!! Cut those back and sprayed them as well, and now they're sitting out back waiting their turn to be brought in. (2 magillas and 2 dipt in wine). Egads, what's wrong with me!?!? ... wait, don't answer that. =P

Salem Cnty, NJ(Zone 7b)

Not a thing, speedie. Not a thing. Heehee.

Made a pie, some cranberry/orange bread. Now I'm making collards and babysitting Miss Maggie. 4 going on 14. She is such a happy kid!!! Very fun!!!

Baltimore, MD(Zone 7a)


I still have the 2 pots of the blue Verbenas to plant. Almost forgot!
I presume they need to be in full sun? Hmmm...hard to think about that! WHERE?????
I could plant one in my tiny front bed (by my door) and let it sprawl. That way--I would not have to
try all kinds of annuals that just peter out.

If they would survive in the front of my very dry "YUK" bed--I would love to have them there
in front of all the Day Lilies. But--nothing wants to grow there--it is so dry--because of the tree roots.

I could kill myself and try to dig it up some more--and amend it---but the only thing is that--the tree roots will just go:
"AHHHH! Fresh soil to grow in!!!" YUMMMMMMMMMMMM!

Still worth considering. Would appreciate a bit of advice on this???????

Today--I started out with plans wanting to apply the Systemic Granules, but instead started cleaning up
all my Irises, cutting back the leaves, raking out the soil, and pulling up some annuals.
And so my ADD mind goes......

There is still time! I have now had my break yakking with you all on DG--so I shall get my arse outside and continue.....


Somewhere in, MD(Zone 7b)

One of the verbena in the small by-the-door bed is probably a good idea, especially if the soil is already amended. Be prepared to prune it back a few times a year to make entrance to the door possible. ;)

Hmmmmm... Near a tree amongst roots, IF you have to kill yourself digging to amend the soil: That is a very large probable MAYBE.. after all, what I've got growing out front does grow around and all over and through everything else, including my 7' tall Agastaches and the Otto Lyukens and the rampant Jerusalem Cherries.. and just absolutely everything. It may just give that tree a run for its money. The tree roots may go "Aaaaaah, fresh soil for me to grow in!", but the verbena may just fight back and say "HEY wait a minute, THAT'S MINE!!". =)

I would say they'd like "lots of" sun - to - full sun, as much as you can give them. They'll still do very well with less, but they bloom more in 'full' sun.

Baltimore, MD(Zone 7a)

Geez- Speedie---
You did not make my decision any easier!

OK! My question now is--when they are growing, planted in the front part of a bed, do they spread
forwards or backwards. I know it sounds like a stupid question--but if they "colonized" backwards--
I would like that better--in either bed.

The plants of this verbena I got--look semi-dead. is that normal? Are they going dormant this time of year?
I did water them the next day, but they still look all dried up.

Should i worry????? Gita

annapolis, MD(Zone 7b)

I've started a Stink Bug continuation thread over here

Silver Spring, MD(Zone 6b)

What kind of verbena are you all talking about? I thought verbena was an annual. I had PW dark blue/purple verbena all summer and I just pulled it and the PW Bubblegum pink petunias up. About killed me because they were still blooming but I'm on a roll getting stuff from the plant swap planted, divided, and the beds cleaned up. I figured the first frost is probably not too far away anyhow and they would be killed by it. I can't take working outside in cold weather so have to do it now. Next week Mr. B will be here to do fall maintainence and mulching, prunning anything that needs it..and after that I'm putting covers on the patio furniture for the winter, taking in anything that needs to go inside and maybe direct sow some perennials that don't like to be transplanted so I'll use Jiffy peat they will bloom in Spring of 2013..(dwarf larkspurs, delphiniums, foxglove to name a few flower seeds) Have two more pots of daylilies to plant out from the plant swap.

My niece from NJ came down to visit with her Mother for a few days and stopped by yesterday to visit us and she started asking me what was this and that so we took a walk around the house for her to see what else I had planted in the beds, and when I showed her all that had come from the plant swap, she had this strange look on her face..and said people just give away all these plants..and I told her about plant swaps..She had never heard of them but maybe she will check them out in her area now. She said she looks forward to seeing all the daylilies I planted bloom next Spring/summer when she is here visiting again.

annapolis, MD(Zone 7b)

Quote from sallyg :
Save all those fall leaves- and watch for my article about good soil fungus that eats them.I think this is one of Gita's secrets to beautiful flowers, and she may not even have known it directly. She saves fall leaves and lets them rot in bags, then uses them around plants. Very good!

Liked you article yesterday Sally. Kudos.

Have to wear a hard hat to work in my yard. Seems to be a bumper crop of acorns this year. Or overly active and accurate squirrels!

Anderson, IN(Zone 6a)

Read the article! enjoyed!! I'm a bag leaf saver also! My worms love em'!

Baltimore, MD(Zone 7a)

I don't think i will have as many leaves as usual, as my big Maple has already dropped a bunch of them
during the end of summer.
The leaves were small to begin with (due to the stressful summer) and many of them fell prematurely.
My other maple usually drops ALL her leaves first--and the Silver maple is still all green.
NOT this year....

I will rake what i can and compost in bags--but most of thee leaves that fall down get chopped up when I mow the lawn.
And YESSUREEEE! I do not bag my clippings! haven't done it for eons! My lawn loves it.

Just FYI---After I bag all the shredded leaves--I sprinkle in a handful of Lawn food (for the "N")
and then add some water. Takes 2 years before it is a nice, loose compost.

My problem is I don't have anywhere, out of sight, to put these bags. I usually have 2 or 3.


Lucketts, VA(Zone 7a)

Judy, hearing you on the acorns. There is a constant sound of dropping now, every once in a while you'll hear an especially loud thunk when they hit the pole barn's tin roof. Driveway is covered, and the acorns crunch as the tires pass over them. Lovely sounds, but you do have to beware of them knocking you on the head. Had Joyanna and Alfie up here last Friday and four other kids on Saturday - they entertained themselves by finding as many different kinds of acorns as they could. Nice variety!

I am so glad it is the weekend. I will be outside doing fall cleanup and planting the fall plant acquisitions - went overboard at Sally's swap (honestly, had intended to only bring a "few" things home), and then followed it up last week by going overboard again at the Green Springs plant sale. Tempted by a Native Plant Sale just off the beltway and 395 today - don't NEED anything, and should focus on planting what I already have, but do I dare pass up a Native Plant sale??? Probably not LOL. Sale flier:

Baltimore, MD(Zone 7a)

I am proud of myself--held firmly to NOT bringing home too many plants from the Swap.

4 to be exact--plus 2 cuttings to root. Gita

Silver Spring, MD(Zone 6b)

SSGardener was here to pick up some plants I had to share with her that I couldn't get into our car on 9/15. It probably takes her 20-25 min. to get here. I had dug up coneflowers, Alaska shasta daisies, and she wanted zagreb I let her dig those up this morning when she came. She deals with a clay soil and made a remark how rich and nice my soil was to dig. When we moved here in 2005, DH was phsically able to do the yard work, but now it's all me, and I'm seriously thinking of reducing the width of the two front flowerbeds..These flowerbeds are owning me and I can't deal with his health issues and the flowerbeds. I enjoy working in my flowerbeds but I think I've add all the perennials I need for a while.. Wintersowing will be all about favorite annuals to fill in color. Since the temps got down into the 80's, my alyssum is blooming its head off. Terri can vouch for that.

Can we help her and others who have to deal with clay soil..has somebody done an article on this subject before? Or have any suggestions? My friend in College Park goes around her neighborhood and collects the bags of leaves people have raked up for the city to pick up. They purchased a shredder and she never buys commericlal mulch. She uses shredded leaves all the time. Of course, she's been working on hers for years so it is rich now..Are the shredded leaves the answer? What about aged manure?

I know Terri has been working so hard trying to deal with the clay is back breaking work I'm sure. She will have to report all that she had done to amend it.

Silver Spring, MD(Zone 6b)

Gita, are you able to use that 32 cell pack container I gave you? I know you said you do some things indoors "under lights" and I hope you are able to use it. If you prefer not to use it, pass it along to somebody that can or will. Won't hurt my feelings any. You gave me the red daylilies, right?
Well, they went into my front bed by the living room window and I can't wait to see them bloom in the Spring. Thank You so much for your generosity and always help online.

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