Renewal time

A guide to fall care and rejuvenation of your garden

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  • Late fall:  Same perennial bed after cleanup and pruning.

    Fall planting: Renewal time

    Thomas J. Story

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Bud Stuckey, coordinator of Sunset's test garden in Menlo Park, California, doesn't think so. More than seven years ago, he set aside an 18- by 25-foot section of the garden just for cut-and-come-again blooms. There, after tilling and amending the soil, he planted roses, perennials, and a smattering of seasonal tubers, such as dahlias and tuberoses. The payback for his initial efforts has been enormous: buckets of blooms daily, April through October, for six years.

The secret to this garden's continuing productivity is autumn renewal. Beginning each October, Stuckey follows this simple strategy ― cutting, pruning, weeding, mulching ― to freshen the plantings. Follow his program (adapt it to your garden's special needs and to your climate) for a robust flower bed next spring. Then, says Stuckey, "get out of the way and watch the plants grow."

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