Fall is coming and all the things that come with it…

 

Fall is here, the leaves are beginning to turn and drift through the air as they make their way to the ground. Fall season equinox is officially here on September 22nd this year 2017.  Along with a surprise of celebrating the Harvest Moon on October 5th, something that usually occurs in September except for every three to four years when it’s in October.  So, make a note to be sure to peek at the full moon, and enjoy the new season.

There is so much to chat about besides getting organized to prepare for the oncoming season.  Fall color perennials planting can still be added to your garden.  A few that are well-known and rather easy to plant for that fall garden color are Sedum, Pennisetum alopecuroides (aka Fountain Grass is loved for it’s timeless style) usually bloom well into October. Coreopsis – aka Tick-seed which is in the Asteraceae family along with fall blooming asters.

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We know about “mums” Chrysanthemums the plant that appears every year as a sign that Fall is near if not here.  The characteristic Chrysanthemum is available in a wide range of colors along with many flower forms. These jewels of the garden are easy to please. Plant in well-drained soil in full sun. Add a little compost around the planting not touching the plant and enjoy the fall color.  These perennials can be cut back and over winter for next year.  Mammoth is a variety that is known to be the hardest for Northern gardening zones 3-9.  Mums can be displayed in many ways.

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While in the garden be aware of nature’s flying friends.  Now is the time yellow jackets  and wasps are busy preparing for winter.  Did you know that the queen is the only one to over winter in the nest. When she awakes in early spring she will seek out a new site/nest to prepare to lay eggs. The first larvae will hatch as sterile female workers that assist the queen with preparing a nest for the next generation of wasps.  That explains why there weren’t many wasps during early spring. Wasps have the capability to sting and re-sting unlike bees’ wasps don’t lose their stinger.  Wasps venom contains a pheromone that causes fellow wasps to be aggressive.  Don’t swat or wave your hands at a wasp, that action can cause the wasp to become aggressive.   While in the garden just be aware of flying patterns.  Stand still for a moment and watch the flying activity. And if you spot more activity in a single place rather all over.  You may a have a nest close by that spot.  Wait until dark to carefully investigate and confirm.  Upon the conformation of a nest, research the best way for you to handle the situation. Sometimes an expert is needed, or if the nest is in a part of the garden that you feel comfortable having them at.   Be aware Wasps and Yellow Jackets stings can seriously injure.  Yellow Jackets /Wasps do benefit the ecosystems as predators of plant damaging pest, along with being pollinators.  Sometime natures steps in – raccoons and skunks sniff out the ground nest of Yellow Jackets/Wasps and eat them.  Natures’ way of maintaining a balance.

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Yellow Jacket emerging from it’s nest. 2017

Balance is an important element in Gardening…. You can achieve balance within your garden simply by:

  1. Plant Natives – they thrive in the soil and weather in your region.
  2. Creating garden planting areas by using compost and by adding other organic material that will support under-ground ecosystem of earthworms and microorganisms that will aerate the soil.  That in turn aids plant roots absorb water and nutrients.
  3. Encourage Good Bugs – not all bugs are bad. By planting natives, you’ll attract ladybugs, praying mantis – just to name a few that keep the insect balance within your garden.

Finally keep reading and learning what interest you.  Go enjoy all that Fall has to offer!

Until later, El

 

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Master Gardener Fall Plant Sale – Friday Sept. 15th – 12 noon until 7:00 p.m. & Sat. Sept. 16th – 9:00 am to 1:00 p.m.

Weavers Orchard Farm Market & Pick Your Own: https://weaversorchard.com/

Berk County Hort Club-  www.berkshortclub.org

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