October perennial care or not…

Tue. Oct. 2, 2018

Click below to listen to my 2 min. Garden Bite radio show:  October perennial care or not…

We just had some crazy wild weather where I live in southeastern Minnesota.  There’s still debate over whether it was 10 tornadoes or 6, nonetheless,  we’re all feeling grateful that no lives were lost but firewood is going to be real cheap next year!

a friend’s neighborhood

The Old Farmers Almanac says our Upper Midwest weather for the winter is going to be a little warmer and drier.  We shall see!

Aside from storm cleanup, there are other October to-do’s …

You can collect seeds of rudbeckia and coneflowers right now.  Cut the heads off in the afternoon when the plant is dry, open the flower head and collect the seeds.  You can store them in a dry area in jars or envelopes.

Coneflowers to the right, daisies to the left!
Coneflowers 9-30-18

Make sure you mark them or it really will be a surprise!  Sometimes you’ll get the exact same flower, other times, well, it’s a surprise.  That’s part of the fun!

You’ll need to decide what kind of look you want for your winter garden.  What I call the “Mr. Clean” look with no ‘dead stuff’ left standing or the “Lazy Susan”, which is a bit of a misnomer and not just because this is my method!  I like to leave many of my ‘dead’ perennials standing for winter interest.  AND, there’s good reason to leave your natives up to feed the birds!  Many will nibble on the seeds and Salvia and hardy mums actually seem to overwinter better when the dead stems are left standing.  in the photo below, my asters are fantastic, the last of the flowering in my pollinator garden.  I’ll leave all of this to stand for winter, there are lots of seeds in there!

Pollinator garden 9-30-18

And, of course, grasses are outstanding in the winter time.  A must for me.  I’m leaving most of perennials to prune in the Spring.  In the photo below, I’ll be taking out the cannas in a couple of weeks.  The bulbs won’t stand our winter.

Calamagrostis Acutiflora ‘Avalanche’

However, do take out any diseased or bug ridden parts!  If your garden suffered from fungal disease, get rid of the plants and clean up the area!