Fall Fix-ups for the Yard, Part II

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In part one of my series on “Fall Fix-ups”, I covered eco-friendly lawn etiquette.  Here, bulbs and flower beds will be the focus.  Of course, to keep it green, the use of native plants is highly encouraged.  By planting native (non-invasive) flowers, you’ll provide the proper nourishment for native birds, bees, butterflies and other pollinating insects and animals.  Plus, native bulbs are adapted to thrive in certain areas and many require little water.  Because perennial bulbs need to experience cold weather, and then warm temperatures, they are native to areas around the world (at 45 degrees latitude) whose weather patterns create these ideal conditions.  The crisp, pleasant Autumn weather is the perfect time to get out in the garden.

By planning and planting in the Fall, you’ll be rewarded with a cheerful show of new flowers in early Spring, after a dreary winter, and for many years thereafter (with perennial bulbs).  Bulbs are really versatile and produce a wide variety of colors, shapes and sizes of flowers.  Create beautiful mass plantings in solid beds, or go for a more naturalized look around perennial borders, rock gardens, pathways, and along woodlands, fields and even lawns.  Pictured here is one of my favorites, oneleaf onion (Allium unifolium), which grows up to a dramatic 32″.

While planting your bulbs, add a bit of rich compost to provide nutrients to the bulbs.  In colder regions, it’s best to add a layer of mulch after the soil freezes.  In warmer climates (zone 8 and above), you can mulch right after planting and watering.   At the end of the blooming season, it’s best to leave spent leaves to fade and decompose naturally, but a tip for hiding the unsightly foliage is to plant your bulbs amongst broader-leafed plants or intersperse the beds with colorful annuals.

You can find native bulbs through mail-order catalogs and online retailers.  Even deer-resistant varieties are available.  Be sure to inquire, or search online or at the bookstore, for bulbs native to your geographical area.  Also, look for those that are not harvested from the wild, as this depletes our natural resources.  Organic Gardening is a great resource and includes retailer information as well.

Click here to learn when it’s best to plant Spring-flowering bulbs in your region.

photo courtesy of Brent and Becky’s Bulbs

Tag(s): The Great Green Outdoors

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One Response to “Fall Fix-ups for the Yard, Part II”

  1. Cheryl on September 6th, 2009 4:52 pm

    I wanted to thank you for having such a great website about plants. I especially love the blue/purple flower on your site. I did not know about planting native (non-invasive) flowers to make sure that the animals are taken care of too. Thanks for a very informative site.

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