So you would think, after almost 50 years of living in this Southern Canadian climate, that by now I would have adapted to the swift transition between summer and fall; but it still, to this day, takes me by surprise when the intensely warm days and nights of August suddenly, overnight, turn cool. It’s like yesterday you were wearing a bikini and today you need a sweater.
Start Preparing Your Garden for Spring
Although I enjoy living in a part of the world that experiences four distinctly different seasons, September always takes a little getting used to for me as I really do love the summer heat. One trick for getting through the first of those ‘so-long-summer’ months, is to start preparing your garden for spring. Although the garden is quickly losing its vibrancy at this time of the year, there are a few things that can be done to ensure that your garden’s vibrancy returns with gusto in six months time.
Transplant and Divide Perennials and Shrubs and Improve Soil
For starters, September is a great time of the year for transplanting and dividing perennials and shrubs (see The August Garden for instructions). It is also a great time for adding improved soil and bark mulch to your flower beds (see The April Garden and The May Garden for instructions). During the cold winter months, the improved soil will supply important nutrients to your plants root systems, and the bark mulch will help protect the roots from the cold by acting as insulation.
Top Dress and Over Seed Your Lawn
September is also one of the best times of the year for top dressing and over seeding your lawn. Top dressing is the application of a thin layer of improved soil (e.g. triple-mix) over the lawn; and over seeding is the application of grass seed over an existing lawn to encourage new growth which results in thicker and healthier grass. To top dress, follow these basic instructions: using your lawn mower, cut the grass as short as ½” if possible, clean up any problem spots (i.e. thatch or chinch bug), dig up any visible weeds and discard, rake the area thoroughly to clean up debris, and then top dress the lawn with a ½” of soil. If you are over seeding, top dress first and then sprinkle the grass seed over the top dressing. Very gently rake the grass seed into the top dressing. This will help keep the seeds from drying out and also hide them from hungry birds. Water the lawn religiously for about two weeks, as it is very important to keep the lawn moist until the seeds germinate. The new grass seeds will have an advantage if you plant them at this time of the year because competition from other weeds will be greatly reduced, and they will have an entire fall, winter, and spring to develop their root systems before having to battle the intense summer heat. Investigate your local climate to determine when to spread your grass seed—six to eight weeks before the first frost sets in is ideal.
Plant Your Spring Flower Bulbs
And the last gardening tip for this month: don’t forget to plant your flowering bulbs (i.e., Tulips and Crocus’) before the ground freezes. It is well worth the effort. Imagine waking up one early spring morning to find little crocus blossoms blooming all over your lawn. It is a heavenly site, and a wonderful harbinger that spring has arrived. Check in with us once a month between March and October for tips on how to care for your garden.
At Design for Conscious Living® we specialize in interior and exterior design. Don’t wait until spring to inquire about a landscape design for your property, especially if it’s a large project. Connect with us in early to mid-fall and we may be able to offer you a discount if we are looking for work to fill the quieter months of December and January.