Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Lorax Landscaping

My friend Patty is owner and head gardener of Lorax Landscaping in Epping, New Hampshire. Patty and I both help out at New Roots Farm and I can attest to her skill in ecological landscaping and all things gardening. Check out her website and facebook page for inspiration and guidance in the garden.

Patty also sends out an occasional email with some great gardening tips. Here is one of my favorites that she sent this week:

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Dear Lorax friends & clients,

A few reminders as we head into fall:
  • Water broadleaved evergreens -  Broadleaved plants keep their leaves in the winter (Rhododendron, Azalea, Andromeda, Holly, Boxwood) and continue to transpire.  To do well, they and need the soil to be moist through the winter.  We have had a very dry fall, so it would be beneficial to water your broad-leaved evergreens, even established shrubs, 1 inch a week, until the ground freezes. 
  • Plant spring flowering bulbs and garlic now
  • Prepare new beds for spring planting
  • DON'T do a fall clean-up – see below
My blog entry from a year or so ago bears repeating…

Putting your Garden to Bed?
I am not a fan of late fall yard clean-ups.  The debris and leaves that accumulate in your yard in the fall are akin to a winter coat for your shrubs and perennials.  Cutting down your perennials and raking the leaves out of your garden beds is like your teenage daughter going to the bus-stop without a hat and coat so that she’ll look ‘cool’ and wont mess up her hair.

The leaves and debris provide a haven for good insects through the winter.  Uncut perennials allow better root and crown protection (they catch leaves and snow for their insulation), provide food and perches for birds and add winter landscape interest for you.

There are exceptions:

  • Leaves on the lawn – rake or mow, shred and use as mulch in your gardens – if left on the lawn, and matted under the snow, they can kill the grass and/or encourage snow mold
  • Plants that showed signs of disease – these should be cut back and disposed of properly
  • Plants that reseed readily (if you don’t want them to spread) – deadhead after flowering throughout the season
If you are new to ecological landcare and/or still haven’t gotten used to what some consider the ‘unkept’ look of an unmanicured fall garden manage your transition by cutting perennials only to within 8 inches of the ground.

Happy Gardening,
Patty Laughlin, NHCLP, AOLCP
Manager/Head Gardener
Lorax Landscaping
Epping, NH
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The part I like is "don't do a fall clean-up" but instead leave the plants tall for insects and birds and for healthier plants. Here is my own somewhat unkempt winter garden habitat.
And here are still lovely perennials and annuals and shrubs in late fall colors in our yard.

New England aster with bumblebees moving slowly in mid-October
Nasturtiums
American hazel

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