Discover more from floricult newsletter
🧹 october garden tasks + a monthly maintenance calendar 🪚
a new free resource, storm prep, and pruning advice
🍁 Happy fall! 🍂
September is my favorite month of the year and so far, it has not disappointed. Everything feels possible in the garden again since the heat broke, and I have planted new grasses, sedum, windflowers, woodland phlox, chrysanthemums, and wall germander. We even got a little ginkgo tree!
Today we am preparing* for the tropical storm that will hit us here in Winston-Salem, NC in the early hours tomorrow (Friday) morning. It seems like we’ve seen a thousand terrible storms and disasters in our lifetimes, and until last year I was somewhat immune to their sadness. Now, I think of the farms and gardens that are wiped out and the heartbreak behind each of them, and it gets harder to watch them.
It’s not lost on me that becoming more connected to the earth = more connected to myself. I feel joy more deeply with a long-awaited flower and I feel loss more deeply with the wind and hail. It becomes harder to put emotions in a box and march through them, as I have done for much of my life. I am grateful for it.
*STORM PREP — If you are staring down 3+ days of heavy rain, hold off on any fall plantings. You don’t want transplants to drown — or seeds or fertilizer to wash away. I am deadheading flowers aggressively and cutting all blooming flowers to enjoy indoors. They will get squished in the rain. Heavy branches will likely fall or snap, so I am cutting long stems that still have buds further down. I am harvesting all tomatoes, squash, herbs that are still growing. I am driving stakes deeper with a mallet.
I have been working on an annual maintenance calendar that you could print + hang on a refrigerator or bookmark on your laptop. It is still a work-in-progress, and while it is most accurate for zones 6-8, you could duplicate it and customize it for your own zone if you are much further north or south! I will be continually adding to it - let me know if you have suggestions to add.
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This weekend when you’re planning October, schedule your tasks:
Plant garlic (by the way, this can be expensive the first year you buy heads by the pound. you have my blessing to buy from the farmers market if it’s too much work for you!)
Plant berries (blackberries, raspberries, blueberries)
Plant spring bulbs (tulips, daffodils, crocus, etc)
Plant cover crops (True Leaf Market just published a free booklet/how-to guide and it is outstanding)
Divide + transplant hostas, peonies, and roses
Clear out any dead wood on roses, hydrangeas, azaleas, rhododendrons, japanese maples, etc
It seems like the time of year for hard pruning your scraggly bushes & trees, but it is not! You can do minor pruning anytime you like, but hold off on the hacking.
Don’t plant bulbs (or garlic) before a week of rain
Don’t cut back all your perennial flowers yet. Leave what you can for the insects to hide and hibernate in over winter! You can remove the really unsightly things, but anything you leave, the wildlife will appreciate
Have questions about any of these task list items? Leave it in the comments.
PRUNING — This week I discovered a collection of videos about pruning an overgrown property and my god, what a treat. I would watch any video about any topic by Cass Turnbull after careening through this absolutely unhinged playlist. I learned so much. Take some time to watch with popcorn (and re-watch), and become a pruning expert!
This is your reminder to take time to see the leaves, pick some apples, go to a local garden, and see the world before it changes. 🌎
“Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower." — Albert Camus