Putting Your Garden to Bed

The first light frosts of autumn are clear indications that it is time to clean up the garden beds.

Although turning the calendar to October is the hint that it is time to finish planning where to plant more crocus, hyacinth, tulips, and daffodils, it is also time to plan chores.

But wait…are birds still nibbling on seeds heads? Are there any seeds left?

I just finished cutting some stalks filled with aster seeds heads and walked along the roadside tapping them together as seeds flew into the border of thyme, cleome, and an assortment of wildflowers.

Soon the battery-operated hedge clipper will come out to take down the rest and be added to the slow compost pile. But ornamental grasses will stay! They provide places for birds to hide in and material for them to “feather their nests” and will add insulation for their winter homes.

Purple Fountain Grass, Pennisetum setaceum Rubrum, is an annual in Zone 5/6 but a specular addition in clients’ Doug & Shawn’s garden.

In the spring, when I see some green emerging from the base, will prune them about 8 inches high in a dome-like shape and cut down the tops for compost.

Gardens: assets without added assessment

When a real estate agent uses the term “add more curb appeal” we know that a lush planter of seasonal annuals by the mailbox or on the porch will brighten any entrance as clients approach the front door. But gardens can make all the difference for buyers.

Yards used to be “just yards” and appraisers would never consider the value of the most spectacular perennial garden in their appraisal. That has changed. Although edible and ornamental gardens do not raise property taxes, they absolutely raise property values.

A shared roof garden or common garden in an urban condominium are desired assets that can raise the value of a unit by thousands of dollars.

We’ve come a long way as gardeners as we create spaces we enjoy using and decorating the exterior spaces of our homes just as we have added our personalities to the interior.

So, keep track of all you plant – not only for your own planning and reordering but to pass onto the next owner/gardener and – – to ensure an increased selling price. Make sure that your agent uses your garden in their marketing.

Here’s a very extravagant and dramatic description of gardens at a Hudson Highlands home in New York State home for sale:
“…the philosophy of organic architecture: the harmonious union of art and nature – is set within a natural landscape with a whimsical twist [with} classic garden designs along with follies that add extravagance to this serene landscape. The horticultural splendor surprises you around every corner of the garden. Dazzling and romantic outdoor spaces are very accessible and create a park like atmosphere defined by its ponds, cascading waterfalls, stone pyramids, a series of obelisks, ‘scent’ garden, spruce room, poet’s corner, two classic Greco-Roman pavilions…grotto, long defined walking paths, and classical statuary.
One can ‘feel’ the peace and harmony of the garden, seeing and experiencing it – only by walking through it. Photos do not do it justice.”

What’s growing?

There’s always something new to see.

Photo: Barbara Hobens

“No matter what time of year, there is change every day. Where no blooms were seen yesterday…they suddenly appear and, if you have a sunflower, you can literally watch them turn their heads as the sun moves across the sky.” —  Barbara Hobens