Burnett: Late summer weather great for gardens, gardeners alike

Here in the Okanagan we are entering one of the best gardening seasons of the year.

Don BurnettWell, here we are at the end of August and if we were living in some other parts of Canada, we may have experienced our first frost and—heaven forbid—sprinkling of snow by now.

But here in the Okanagan we are entering one of the best gardening seasons of the year.

September and October can be very productive and enjoyable when the cooler weather offers relief to the stressed out annuals both in the garden beds and in containers.

In fact, when many of you may be thinking that tired hanging basket has had the bun, try snipping it back a little and putting it on a regimen of 20-20-20 every second watering and watch it thrive well into November.

Not only do the plants appreciate the cooler weather but we humans do as well, as it makes working in the garden much more pleasant.

Activities such as digging out the crab grass now visible in the lawns and lightly pruning back roses, which by the way will often come on with some late season colour right into the frosty weather, don’t seem to be as grinding as they are when the heat of summer is on.

This time of year keep an eye open at the garden centres for shipments of fall bulbs to arrive.

Last fall I spent about $50 on a selection of tulips crocus and narcissus which gave me so much pleasure this past spring.

That $50 expenditure will keep giving me dividends for years to come.

This is a perfect time of year to do some dividing of perennial plants such as rudbeckia, salvia, iris, and peonies.

You can also divide ornamental grasses at this time of year, but I prefer to leave most types until early spring.

Why not enjoy them as they turn to earth tones into the fall and most of them even look nice when dusted with some snow.

The garden shops are now stocking up on various colourful perennials such as garden mums, fall asters and fall sedum.

You can get a double whammy out of these by plunking them into your tubs and baskets that are not looking so good and then planting them out in the perennial bed after they are done. For most this can be done in early winter or you can wait until spring arrives.

September is a great time to plant lawn seed if there are some areas which need some re-generation; in particular after you have done some crab grass removal.

•••

I want to give an early heads-up to people interested in taking our bus trip to the Northwest Flower and Garden Show in February.

We have a new tour provider this year and it is Sun Fun Tours. (Kelowna office number is 250-763-6133.)

If you haven’t been on this trip I highly recommend it as a great way to get a jump on the spring gardening season. If you have come along before then I think you know what I mean and I suggest to you it may be time to take this great trip again.

Every year the show has a specific theme. This year it’s A Celebration of Food, embracing trends in organic and urban gardening, sustainability, and variety of culinary experiences, including outdoor dining.

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