Autumn in the garden is a special time for me. It is a time to reflect on the year and think about what has worked well and what things I would change for the next year. It is also a time where I get tired of all the upkeep and tend to slow down a bit just to sit and enjoy the garden.
Perennials in Autumn
When I design my flower gardens, I always include perennials that bloom in the fall and as well as annuals and foliage plants that will provide interest during a time when most gardens slow down. Various fall-blooming plants, such as asters and fall-flowering anemones, add a special touch late in the season and are beneficial to pollinators.
I’m a huge fan of Echinacea. Although they’re normally done blooming by autumn, I never deadhead them because goldfinches love the seeds. They will also self-sow and I move seedlings around to various parts of the garden. Who doesn’t love free plants?
During the autumn season, I love going to various nurseries and finding perennials on sale. This is a great time of year to obtain plants at a discount. Planting perennials in autumn gives them a nice start for the following year and, for this reason, I prefer this to planting in the spring. If I have any annuals that are past their prime, I’ll often replace them with perennials in the fall. I’ll also take the opportunity to move any plants around that didn’t look quite right.
Reflection in the Autumn Garden
Autumn is a great time to reflect on any changes I want to make for the following year. I love keeping a gardening journal and keep track of what has worked well and what things I would change. When you grow as many plants as I do, it is very convenient and efficient to document things in a journal.
More and more though, in this crazy world we’re living in, I’m using the garden as a quiet place to just sit and be. It is a rejuvenating meditative experience to sit quietly in one of the two chairs that I have inside my main garden and absorb all the sights, sounds, and scents. The cooler temperatures of autumn make this a wonderful experience and I think it is important to slow down and enjoy our creations. We can’t always be working in our gardens. We need to sit and enjoy them to clear our heads and bring us peace.
The thing I like the least about is fall garden cleanup! I normally leave it until spring, since the upside is that the “jungle” in the garden will provide some shelter for birds and other wildlife. All in all, autumn is a time for reflection in the garden and a time to appreciate what we have accomplished for the year.