Fall Decorating Ideas

Yes, there really is a hosta called ‘Thanksgiving’.  Here it is.  If anyone knows the history on how it got its name, please let me know.

H. 'Thanksgiving'

H. ‘Thanksgiving’

And for those lucky gardeners who are still enjoying warm weather and green leaves, here’s a few last minute ideas for your holiday decorations:

Heuchera in a pumpkin

Heuchera in a pumpkin

Hosta in tall vase

Hosta in tall vase

Heuchera leaf in floral arrangement

Heuchera leaf in floral arrangement

Hosta leaf arrangement

Hosta leaf arrangement

Simple Heuchera arrangement

Simple Heuchera arrangement

Hosta leaf in small vase

Hosta leaf in small vase

Greenhouse/Garden Update

As Mary puts it:  “Well, the hosta season is done and the greenhouse is empty once again.”

The ladies, (Mary, Karen, and Kelsey) have been working hard to wrap up the season.  Here are a couple snapshots of them busy in the fall garden.  They are moving the greenhouse plants to their outdoor home for the winter.

Mary, Karen and Kelsey putting the plants to bed

Mary, Karen and Kelsey putting the plants to bed

A positive sign from Kelsey.

A positive sign from Kelsey.

Mary looking back on the year

Mary looking back on the year

Get Your Hostas Ready For Winter

The mums are gorgeous right now, the birches are rich yellow, and apples and pumpkins are staples in nearly every meal.  Fall is definitely here.

But before we take a break from gardening over the winter, here in Minnesota there are just a couple things we can do for our hostas:

  • Continue to water.  It’s been a dry summer, and we don’t know how much snow cover or moisture will be available over the winter.  We recommend watering until the ground freezes.
  • Clean up!  Hosta leaves can be removed in the fall or the early spring, but a major benefit to cutting back in the fall is for plant health.  Removing the dead leaves and debris helps negate disease by removing spores.  Leaves can be cut back right to the ground.
  • Attack slugs.  These pests can lay many eggs in the fall, so by removing leaves and debris you are getting rid of the next generation.  If you apply slug killer, now can also be a good time for that application.
  • Skip the fertilizer.  Rather than in the fall, hostas seem to benefit more from a spring feeding.
  • Take notes and inventory in your garden.  What plants were you happy with?  Are there holes in your landscape?  You’ll soon have all winter to think about next year’s garden.

 

Fall Planting Tips

Perennials can absolutely be planted in the fall, just allow enough time for the roots to get established before the ground freezes.  Here are a few tips and benefits:
  • Water, Water, Water!  If the weather is dry, don’t neglect to give your new plants some water.  This is probably the most important key to their success.
  • Unlike in the spring, fall plants don’t need to worry about producing foliage or flowers, so they can direct their energy to the root system.
  • Also, unlike spring plants, they do not need to be ‘hardened off’ and they do’nt need to adjust to outside conditions from the greenhouse.
  • By the end of the season, you’ll have a much better idea about how big the plant gets, its color, and its shape.  That beats a photo.
  • Enjoy the nice weather.  Many plants will feel less transplant stress than during the hottest days of summer.
  • Enjoy the nice weather for yourself.  I know I prefer working outside on a sunny fall day than a hot, humid one.
  • Take advantage of end of season sales.  It’s no big deal that the plant is done flowering for this year…it will be ready to put on a show next season.

Hosta Dormancy and Growing Conditions

Even though temps are near 90 and our holiday weekend plans revolve around swimming, I spent the last few weeks learning about customers growing hostas in hot climates.  This first made me jealous of what temperate locales they are living in, and also their awesome growing conditions…all year round!

But then I started thinking about dormancy and growing conditions.  So here are just a few ideas, from W. George Schmid, author and hosta extraordinaire:

  • The timing of when hostas emerge in the spring is triggered by the days getting longer, the sun rising higher in the sky, and climbing temperatures.  In response to these factors, the plant will generally have a greater supply of hormones, which results in plant growth.  The conditions that each plant needs will vary between types – that is why some hostas emerge nearly a month before other hostas.
  • Flower bloom and dormancy are not related.  When a flower blooms is a genetic trait in the species plant.  Dormancy in a plant is induced by the the environmental conditions.  It’s possible for late-flowering hostas to go dormant if there is overlap between blooms and an early fall….we just hope that doesn’t happen.
  • We do see a connection between plant size and the length of the growing season.  In cold climates, hostas have to grow fast and large, while in warm climates, they can take their time to grow slowly and the leaves will actually tend to stay smaller.
  • In the south, hostas in pots fare better than hosta in the ground, because the roots are exposed to cooler temps.  In-ground roots will stay to warm to please most hostas in zones 8 or higher.
  • In northern/cooler climates, hostas in pots can be grown, but over-wintering is more difficult than in the ground.  The most important rule is don’t overdo it.  They are not using water or food, so ease off the care.  Pots need to have good drainage.  The number one enemy is rot.