Many people look at their landscapes now and think that something should be done to improve them in the spring. The problem with waiting until spring is twofold. First, a landscape designer cannot evaluate what you have until everything comes up. Therefore, you are talking, at the earliest, late April/early May, the time of year when designers are overwhelmed with work, mainly installing the projects they designed during the winter.
Don’t wait until spring to call for help. Mid to late fall is the perfect time to assess your landscape or perennial garden. All of the herbaceous material is still up, even if it’s looking tired. Most of the shrubs and trees still have their leaves although as the leaves fall, it is easier to see the structure of the woodies. You can take notes now about pruning that should be done in spring.
An important aspect of landscape design, particularly in cold climes like Cleveland, is what the landscape looks like during the winter. What is out there that will give you something beautiful to look at and that will improve your spirits?
Last week, I mapped an existing perennial garden that needs to be redesigned. I know exactly what is there and where it is. The beauty of perennials is that they can be transplanted, if necessary, to improve repetition of form or color. After meeting with the client to discuss what she likes and what perennials she wants to add as well as her color preferences, I will redesign her garden during the winter and get everything ordered so that we can install as soon as the plants are available. I also met with a client to discuss maintenance in preparation for winter as well as some changes that we’ll make in the spring.
Maintenance at this time of year is very important, especially a last weeding. If weeds are not removed now, they will take off at a galloping pace as soon as the soil warms in spring. Do not prune your roses now unless they are very tall and will whip around in the wind. If that is the case, cut them in half but no more. Wait until spring when the new leaf buds foliate.
Do yourself a favor. Instead of raking the leaves from your lawn or groundcover to the treelawn for municipal pickup, rake them into your beds where they will decay and return their nutrients to the soil. Then consider mulching with leaf humus or double shredded bark right over the leaves. This will speed decay and keep them from blowing out of the beds. If the weather is deterring you, give me a call and I’ll send my crew out to do it for you.
This has been a very rainy week but supposedly sunny skies and warmer temperatures – Indian summer? – will be with us next week.