Get great window boxes, bulbs and shrubs
BY LIZ SADLER CRYAN
Alas, summer is more than two-thirds over,
and cooler weather is just around the corner.
On a positive note, fall is the perfect time to
give your yard, garden or window boxes a seasonal
Some planning and forethought can yield a colorful
bounty of fl owers come spring. And gardeners say fall
is the best time to plant new trees and shrubs.
“Fall is a really good time for planting any kind of
big perennials, trees or shrubs,” said gardener Krissie
Nagy of BK Bumpkin. “In the winter, they’re allowed
to work on their root systems and establishing
their roots and not worry about any leafy, vegetative
If you have window boxes, Nagy recommends
hardy plantings, such as ornamental cabbages, kale
and dwarf conifers to last through winter. Mums also
survive the fi rst frosts, she said.
Carmen DeVito of Groundworks Inc. clears out
window boxes by Thanksgiving and plants a mix of
dried, live and cut evergreens. She uses a spray called
Wilt Pruf to protect them in the coldest months.
“I combine pine cones, along with living evergreens
and cut evergreens to make the look nondenominational
and wintery,” she said. “We buy giant
sugar cones, and plants like junipers and grasses and
combine that with beautiful cut boughs.”
Other outdoor containers should be raised at least
a half-inch off the ground to prevent freezing and
“If you have ceramic ones, you want to empty them
out, turn them upside down and put them in a place
like a garage or a shed or attic,” DeVito said.
For gardens, Nagy recommends a fresh layer of
hardwood bark mulch to aerate the soil, and cutting
For beautiful gardens in the spring, begin laying the groundwork in the fall.
back annuals after the fi rst frost.
Raking up leaves is another way to prepare your
garden or yard for the winter months.
“I like to do it lazy gardener way — wait until all
of them fall down, then take them out for compost,”
PHOTO BY SUSAN DE VRIES
Nagy said. “Sometimes, I’ll leave some leaves in the
garden, so come springtime, you’ll have sort of a leafy
semi-decomposed product that can fertilize your
DeVito recommends a thorough fall cleanup.
“We like to really clean up the gardens in the fall,
cut down most of the perennials,” she said, “so in the
spring it’s not a mess of dead leaves and decaying
branches to clean up.
“I really believe in doing as much as possible in the
fall,” she added. “This way, in spring you can really
focus on design and planning and thinking about all
the new things you want to bring in your garden, and
not all the backbreaking work you have to do.”
October and November are the best months to
plant bulbs like crocuses, snowdrops, Spanish bluebells,
grape hyacinth and allium, said Christina
Brown of Christina Brown Gardens. Some perennials
will grow back for 10 years or more and may multiply.
Tulips usually need to be replanted each year.
“It’s fun planting a bulb,” Brown said. “You have
this little nugget that’s not going to do anything for
the winter. It’s a fun surprise, because I feel like in
early spring, we’re just so sick of the weather, and you
get this early spring cheer coming from the ground.”
DeVito recommends planting extra bulbs and covering
them with chicken wire in squirrel-infested areas.
“Always plant 10 or 15 percent more than you think
you’ll need because some will rot, some will get eaten
by the squirrels,” she said.
“It will make a bigger show. When you plant bulbs,
you want to put them in masses.”
This article fi rst ran in Brownstoner, a sister Schneps
Media publication of The Villager.
PHOTO BY SUSAN DE VRIES
Stunning gardens don’t just happen. Getting an early start in the autumn is a big factor.
26 August 22, 2019 TVG Schneps Media