Fall in the garden is surprisingly busy. Given that the gardening year is winding down, you'd think there'd be some down time. Not true. Fall is a great time to compost, plant, mulch, and do general garden maintenance. I'm mostly doing these things in other people's gardens rather than mine, but I have managed a few chores.
I bought a yard of compost to dress my beds. You can apply compost right to the top of your beds without having to do any digging, and your soil will get the most out of it if you do it when the ground is relatively damp. That means anytime except the dead of summer. So far, I've dressed the butterfly bed in front of the garage and most of the shade bed with about three inches of compost. I still have probably half a yard of compost sitting in my turnaround off the alley, so there's plenty more hauling and spreading to do.
On the planting front, I added two more ninebarks to the shade border to complement the one already there. When they grow a bit, they'll form a gorgeous burgundy background that screens the fence. I moved one of the Anabelle hydrangeas to the other side of the cathouse to make room. Now the path to the cathouse is beautifully framed with fluffy white flowers, lending it an air of importance I'm sure Big Lou feels is only appropriate.
The butterfly border in front of the garage grew sort of haphazardly from the two peony shrubs that were there when I moved in. I yanked out a bunch of weedy-looking daisies (Leucanthemella santalina, I think. I bought them from a catalog and then HATED them) from the front of the border, which immediately improved the look. I dug out everything but the peonies and caryopteris, then replanted Siberian iris, daylilies, geraniums, yarrow, and balloon flowers so that you can actually see everything. I also added a path that runs parallel to the garage between the row of peonies and the caryopteris. That path imposes some structure and order, as well as making it easier to get back there and weed. (Or observe Lou, who likes to nap under the pyramid-shaped tuteur. He's either enjoying the catmint or using that pyramid shape to receive messages from aliens.)
I added two Miscanthus 'Morning Light' to the rose border to give it some height and movement. I felt kind of guilty going there, but my local nursery didn't have any, and I wasn't sure when I could get to the wholesale nursery. Plus they were half-price. I bought the only two they had; maybe another local Lowes will have more.
My potager did not do so well this year. The beans were great, except I didn't stay on top of harvesting them, so they stopped producing early. The tomatoes tasted great, but all the vines were dead by August. The pumpkins are still going strong, though. I yanked everything but the pumpkins out and composted them. So the veg garden is done for this year. Maybe next year I'll get crops in the ground early enough in the summer to continue harvesting into late fall.
Still to do:
Weed and mulch the berry bed with compost.
Use blanket composting to clear other parking strip for planting next spring.
Finish mulching with compost.
Add one more Miscanthus.
Consider planting in the shade bed.
Steal bags of leaves from the neighbors' curbs to make leaf mold. (I do this every year, and so far no one has called the cops. Or the men in white coats.)
I'm sure more will occur to me as the weather turns icky.