Autumn is in the air. Clouds succeed each ray of sunshine. This is the season of fulfillment. Seeds and fruits are ripening. Buds are being covered by fur coats. The wild beasts are storing food. Man is changing his summer habits. It is time for contemplation.
It is not on New Year’s day that the gardener makes his resolutions, but it is in early autumn when frosts have taken his flowers when the fruit is picked when fire makes the living room a cozy family council place. Then does the garden-lover plan for another year. The plans that are now made are plans within his mind and in the soil; later, when the catalogs have arrived and the seed orders are made, these plans take more graphic form.
Transplanting. Almost all kinds of deciduous and broadleaf shrubbery and small trees can be moved.
Fall planting. In the lower half or so of New England, Wisconsin, northern Iowa, and southeastern Minnesota, fall planting of hardier perennials and rock plants, deciduous shrubbery, and trees can be done this month if good stock is used and planting is done carefully.
In the northern portions of all states from Maine to central Minnesota, North Dakota, and Montana, fall planting of perennials is not recommended, and fall planting of shrubbery and trees in many locations is risky. Before doing any planting, consult your local nurserymen or landscape planters.
Fall planting of any kind is not recommended for the high upland plains and mountain country of Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming.
Cutworms. Fall spading or plowing is a big factor in controlling cutworms.
Mulch rhododendrons with leaves, preferably oak, for protection and for food.
Rose Protection. In the northern tier of states, from New England to the Great Lakes region and to the northwestern plains of the Dakotas and Montana and into the mountain country, Hybrid Tea Roses should be hilled up with soil 12 to 15 inches deep before the ground freezes. After the ground is frozen hard, cover rose-bush tops with straw, old hay, or evergreen branches.
Climbing roses should be laid on the ground, covered with 3 to 6 inches of soil, and then a little mulch placed on top. Earth is much better than straw or leaves because of mice.
Re-Plan. While the weather is still pleasant and we are not so sensitive about upsetting the whole appearance of our home grounds, it is a good time to re-plan everything, such as walks and beds, and make all immediate changes.
Evergreens. If the fall is dry, it is well to give all evergreens a thoro soaking, as they must not go into freezing weather dry.
Lilies. Many imported lily bulbs arrive very late so that if you are intending to plant lilies it is wise to mulch the soil in the spot where they are to go, with leaves or manure. Then the planting can be done even if the ground is thoroughly frozen. All lilies growing in the ground at present should be mulched with leaves for the winter.
Chrysanthemums. Before frosts are expected, it is well to dig the best chrysanthemum plants.
Tender Perennials. In the colder regions certain perennials—such as lavender, Plumbago, thrift, Statice (Armeria), and torch lily (Kniphofta) —should be dug and placed in a well-drained cold frame or cold basement where they will not be subjected to winter’s severe cold.
House Plants. Pot geranium, Sweet Alyssum, ageratum, and other plants growing in the garden.
Potting Soil. Bring indoors a good supply of potting soil for the winter.
The West Coast
Bulb-planting time is here. In planting freesias be sure the soil is light and well-drained.
Anemone and Ranunculus. When the bulbs of Anemones and Ranunculus are received from the seedsman they are usually about the worst-looking bulbs you buy. They appear perfectly lifeless. But if they are soaked for several hours before planting, they will become plump, then you can see just which is the top, thereby planting them right side up and avoiding any possible disappointment.
Oriental Poppies. planting Oriental Poppies in coarse screen-wire baskets to keep gophers away from the roots.
October work in the Northwest is similar to northern sections of the country in many details. It is clean up, thin, keep after the weeds, and plant.
In the Gulf states, seeds of many annual flowers and vegetables are sown this month. “In the South autumn is one of the best garden seasons for work—not to prepare for winter but to keep our gardens carrying on with an abundance of bloom. September is sometimes our hottest month, with October, not far behind. The great necessity of the season is water, which should be permitted to run until the ground is thoroughly wet. Insects are more troublesome than at any other time.”
Perennial Borders. This is a good time to remake the perennial border.
Roses. We have advised resting the roses for several months so that now we begin to water them and give them a good feeding with a concentrated plant food, which can be weakly applied at intervals of about ten days.
Lawns. Ryegrass is fast supplanting the Bermuda Grass.
Pansies. Many Southern gardeners who find it difficult to raise young pansies from seed will find that if the seedlings are purchased farther north, they will be successful and bloom profusely in January.
Poinsettias should be carefully tied to stakes this month because they are injured by the wind.
Delphiniums, elsewhere perennials, must be treated as annuals in Florida and planted each fall.