LANGLEY’S GREEN THUMB: What a great month for cleaning and planting

Gardener Pam Erikson gets excited about fall cleanup time

by Pam Erikson/Special to Langley Advance Times

Where did the summer go?

Hard to believe it is September already and my mind has gone to fall planting and cleanup.

Next to spring, the fall is actually one of my favourite times of year – the idea of cleaning up and planting new things for spring is very exciting and gives something to look forward to during the upcoming dreary winter.

Many perennials are starting to look past their prime at this point and getting ready to be trimmed back.

If you have a small garden, this is a relatively easy task; but if you have a larger garden area – like we do – some of the perennials get left to die down naturally, providing a natural covering for winter; then get cleaned up in February once we start to prepare for spring again.

Fall is also the very best time to get tulips, daffodils, hyacinths, alliums, crocus, and other spring flowering bulbs planted.

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We particularly love the tulips for groupings of colour throughout the garden.

Even if you don’t have a lot of room, you can plant them in tubs and place them where you want to brighten up a spot.

The miniature botanical tulips have become very popular during the last few years as they are only about 4 to 8 inches tall and naturalize easily, coming back year and year and spreading well.

Hybrid tulips are a bit more finicky on how many return each year, but we have found that the Darwin red ones are amazing – even when I cleaned out one bed, there must have been ‘babies’ in there because two years later they were coming up all over it again – a nice surprise!

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Alliums and hyacinths have always been popular with me, and every year there are new and exciting varieties being developed. This year I’m trying a hyacinth called ‘Gipsy Queen’ (yes, that is the right spelling), and instead of being the standard pink, white, or purple, this one is a lovely mandarin orange.

Also trying some Mount Everest alliums – big white globes of bloom instead of the standard purple.

September is not just a great “cleanup” month, but equally good for planning for next year – so think about that as you are raking leaves and cleaning beds.

– Pam Erikson is owner of Erikson’s Daylily Gardens and Perennials and president of the Langley Garden Club

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