October perennial care

Mon. Oct. 2, 2017

Click below to listen to my 2 min. Garden Bite radio show:  October perennial care

The first week of October and just last week, we set a record where I live for 90 degrees.  Crazy!  Meteorologists are saying we can expect warmer temps in the Upper Midwest through November but winter IS still going to make an appearance!  With that, are some October to-do’s in the garden.

Right now you can collect seeds of coneflowers and rudbeckia.  Cut the heads off in the afternoon when the plant is dry, open the flower head and collect the seeds.  Be sure to label them, unless you like surprises!

A how to from Fine Gardening magazine ‘Collecting and Storing Seeds’

coneflower seedhead

coneflower seedhead

coneflower seeds

coneflower seeds

Milkweed seeds

Milkweed seeds just because they’re pretty!

Cutting back your perennials is up to you.  I would suggest you cut out any diseased foliage and also take out your hostas.  If you do have some flower heads left from your Hosta, you can leave them as the birds will munch them over the winter season.

These will all be left alone till Spring

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.

A little known fact, Salvia and mums actually seem to overwinter better when the dead stems are left standing.  They also attract birds to your landscape.  And who doesn’t need to see a pretty bird or 2 in the winter time!

Native monarda aka wild bergamot with powdery mildew
and cut back