What to do in your garden in October

Sharon Cohoon,  – September 8, 2008

[CP][P] [B {GO SHOPPING}] [BR] [B {Botanical garden sales}] This month, many public gardens hold big sales. They’re a wonderful opportunity to pick up unusual, drought-tolerant plants [SPECIAL_CHAR {151}] perfect for our climate [SPECIAL_CHAR {151}] at reasonable prices. See [I {Sunset’s}] garden blog, [XLINK “/freshdirt” “sunset.com/freshdirt”], for a list of these events. [CP][P] [B {Fire-blocking gel}] If you live close to a native landscape full of greasewood, dry grasses, or other highly flammable material, consider purchasing a protective gel you can spray on your house if fire threatens, adding another layer of protection. [XLINK “http://www.firegel.co ” “Barricade” “” “_new”] (800/201-3927), which lasts up to 36 hours, and [XLINK “http://www.xxurlxx.com” “Thermo-Gel” “” “_new”] Thermo-Gel (800/538-8122), which protects up to 6 hours, are the best known. [CP][P] [B {Native plants}] Most chapters of the [XLINK “http://www.cnps.org” “California Native Plant Society” “” “_new”] have sales this month, prime time for planting natives such as ceanothus and Matilija poppy. Visit [XLINK “http://www.cnps.org” “cnps.org” “” “_new”] to find one near you. [CP][P] [B {PLANT NOW}] [BR] [XLINK “/sunset/garden/article/0,20633,1536140,00.html” “[B {Cool-season color}]”] There’s a reason you see Iceland poppies and ‘Blue Bird’ nemesia together so often in commercial landscapes this time of year: The nemesia’s violet-blue hue perfectly complements the poppies’ apricot, pink, and yellow tones. Plant both annuals now for a long, trouble-free display. [CP][P] [B {Fall foliage for containers}] No room in your landscape for a deciduous tree? You can still enjoy seasonal color even if you garden in pots on a patio or a balcony. [CP][P] A good container option is [B {Duranta}] ‘Gold Mound’, a 1[SPECIAL_CHAR {189}]-foot-tall shrub with bright gold leaves and a graceful draping shape. Or try [B {Libertia}], a 2-foot perennial with erect swordlike leaves in shades of orange (a new variety, ‘Taupo Blaze’, is particularly vibrant). [B {Heuchera}] hybrids are other great choices. [BR] [XLINK “/sunset/garden/article/0,20633,1660103,00.html” “[B {More great combos:}] 5 fall container designs”] [CP][P] [B {Mediterranean shrubs}] Set out plants such as lavender, rosemary, and santolina, which are native to the Mediterranean and thrive in our climate. A fun place to shop for them is [XLINK “http://www.pearsonsgardens.com” “Pearson’s Gardens and Herb Farm” “” “_new”] in Vista (760/726-0717); its lavender collection is especially noteworthy. [CP][P] [XLINK “/sunset/garden/article/0,20633,1551257~1160094,00.html” “[B {Vegetables}]”] In frost-free zones, continue to sow beets, carrots, chard and other greens, fava beans, onions, peas, and turnips. Also set out seedlings of broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, and lettuce. For quick results, plant radishes from seed; to surprise dinner guests and delight children, try ‘Red Meat’, a green-skinned variety with bright pink flesh and a sweeter-than-usual taste. It’s available from [XLINK “http://www.landrethseeds.com” “D. Landreth Seed Company” “” “_new”] (800/654-2407). [CP][P] [B {TEND YOUR PLOT}] [BR] [B {Reset sprinklers}] As the weather cools, plants need less water. Irrigate less often with hose-end sprinklers and soaker hoses, and adjust controllers to increase the number of days between waterings. [BR] [XLINK “/sunset/garden/article/0,20633,692799~725224~785439,00.html” ” More tips for waterwise gardening. “] [CP][P] [XLINK “/sunset/sunset/superpackage/0,22336,785439,00.html” ” [B {OUTSMART PESTS}]”] [BR] [B {Control snails}] Protect new plantings with collars or sleeves, and put copper bands around raised vegetable beds. To reduce the population, search through strappy-leafed plants such as agapanthus and daylilies [SPECIAL_CHAR {151}] snails’ favorite hideouts [SPECIAL_CHAR {151}] and handpick. [CP][P] [ARTICLE_IMAGE 1 L] [B {AUTUMN DAISY}][BR] Copper Canyon daisy [I {(Tagetes lemmonii)}] is a fall garden favorite for good reason: It pumps out pure gold flowers in late autumn and winter when other perennials have closed up shop. The standard variety reaches 6 feet tall and wide, although a compact version [I {(T. l.}] ‘Compacta’) grows into a tidy 3- by 3-foot mound. Both have finely divided leaves. People either love or hate the strong herbal scent, but thank-fully rabbits and deer usually find it repulsive. Grow it in full sun, with after-noon shade in the hottest areas, and water regularly. [SPECIAL_CHAR {150}]Scott Calhoun [CP][P] [B { Fresh Dirt:}] [XLINK “http://freshdirt.sunset.com” “Get the latest tips, tricks, and planting ideas on our garden blog [SPECIAL_CHAR {187}] “] [CP]