What to do in your garden in October

Jim McCausland


Evergreen groundcovers. For a sunny spot, try a native likeCarmel creeper (Ceanothus griseus horizontalis) or kinnikinnick (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi). For shade, consider Gaultheria ovatifolia, longleaf mahonia (M. nervosa), or wild ginger (Asarum caudatum).

Garlic. Separate "mother" bulbs into individual cloves andplant cloves 1 to 2 inches deep. Hardneck types like 'PremiumNorthern White' do especially well in cold-winter areas.Territorial Seed Company (www.territorialseed.comor 541/942-9547) carries a large selection of hardneck andsoftneck varieties such as 'Inchelium Red' and 'Oregon Blue'.

Lawns from sod. Sunset climate zones 4-7, 17: Prepare the site by tillingsoil 6 to 8 inches deep, picking out the rocks, and leveling theground. Then lay the sod, running a roller over it to press rootsfirmly into the soil. Water to keep the turfgrass evenly moistuntil fall rains take over.

Look for rose hips. Pollinated rose blossoms developseed-bearing fruit, called hips, that ripen in autumn, turningvarious shades of red or orange. Among the species that form themost colorful hips are 'Bonica', Rosa glauca, R. moyesii, R. roxburghii, R. rubiginosa, and R. rugosa.

Perennials. Plants may look a little ratty at the nurseries,but now's a good time to buy spring- and summer-floweringperennials (check for sale prices), and it's the best season toplant them. They'll have all winter to develop roots.

Shrubs and trees. Deciduous plants with reliable fall colorinclude burning bush, ginkgo, maples, oakleaf hydrangea, Persianparrotia, sour gum, and sumac. This is also a good time to plantflowering shrubs like Sarcococca and witch hazel for winter fragrance.

Spring bulbs. Set out camass, crocus, daffodil,glory-of-the-snow, grape hyacinth, hyacinth, Iris reticulata, scilla, snowdrop, snowflake, andtulips.


Mulch for winter. Spread 2 to 3 inches of compost or pineneedles around perennial flowers, shrubs, and strawberries toinsulate roots from frost damage and reduce soil erosion.

Winterize fuchsias. Zones 1-3: Remove plants from thegarden, cover them with sawdust, and store in a dark, frostproofplace, like a basement or garage, for the winter. Zones 4-7, 17: Ifyou grow hardy fuchsias in the ground, spread 3 to 4 inches ofstraw mulch around them. If you grow tender hybrids, remove plantsfrom the ground or containers, trim their tops, cover the plantsentirely with sawdust, and store them in boxes in a frostproofplace.

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