Flower Gardening Tips for Middle September in the Flower Garden
Summer is rapidly drawing to a close in the flower garden. As I write this, my window is open and I am wearing a long sleeved shirt as it is just a touch too cool for short sleeves in the early morning. Depending on your area, you may even be starting to look for light frosts before the end of the month. These flower gardening tips will help us wind up the summer and move into the autumn.
The autumn is a very busy time in the flower garden. In fact, your fall work can be even more important than the spring work as many of our spring flowering plants have to planted then. Just at present, though, our flower gardens are, or ought to be, bright and beautiful and so full of plants that there is little or no room for planting or sowing. But we must not be idle.
When you put away your flower pots in the spring, let’s hope you did not put them away dirty. OK, we are all guilty of that now and then in the rush of all the sping chores in the flower garden. So let’s make sure to clean those pots, with a scrubbing brush and warm water, to get them ready to accept the plants we wish to move inside for the winter. Perhaps you need to move in your geraniums, fuchsias, or even some tropical darlings if you have tried the flower gardening tips from our tropical garden article. If you buy new pots, and they are clay pots, you should soak them in water before using them to hold plants. Make sure you allow them to dry thoroughly before planting.
As well as using these pots to move geraniums and other plants into the house, consider using them to pot up some bulbs to flower very early in the spring, maybe even in winter, if you have a sunny window area or are lucky enough to have a greenhouse. Be sure to include some pot shards or small rocks in the bottom of the pots for drainage and to block the holes. Unless that is, you have bought some of the new pots that have this type of space built in.
A good selection of bulbs would be some hyacinths, daffodils, snowdrops, crocuses, tulips and perhaps some freesias. Firmly plant your bulbs in the pots. For a five inch pot, one large hyacinth, three or four tulips, six crocuses, six snowdrops, four daffodils or four or five smaller hyacinths should be enough. Once planted, keep your pots in the dark for about five or six weeks. Either put them in a dark basement or invert another pot over the top of the planted pot. This encourages root growth before top growth. One exception to this is with the freesias. They don’t need the dark.
If you try out these flower gardening tips, truly an experiment for you if you have never tried it before, then you do not need to plant all the bulbs at once. The tulips and hyacinths can be left until October. Remember much of flower garden activities can be experiments until you find what works for you in your location, climate and situation.
Now our next of the flower gardening tips concerns violets. If you have or can build a cold frame in your flower garden, about six feet by four feet, located in a sheltered sunny position facing south, you might want to consider growing some violets through this fall in it. Fill the frame almost to the top with soil. An old trick, if you don’t have enough soil, was to add a layer of dry dead leaves to the cold frame, tamp them down by tramping on them and then add at least a foot of soil on top. You can mark the outside of the cold frame so you know the depth of your layers.
As the cold frame will be deeper on the back side than the front, slope the soil as well so that the violets will all be the same distance from the glass. Make your soil firm and then give it a few days to settle. Then you can transplant your violets into the cold frame. Plant them so they do not touch each other by four inches or so. Be sure to water them well to settle them in. If you have very heavy dews, then be sure to close the top down but do not close it down all the way. Prop it a bit with a chunk of wood or a brick. Violets like a lot of air around them. Later on when the plants are almost touching the glass is when you should put some lights into place. This can be a very interesting project/experiment for the winter.
Hopefully our little flower gardening tips will give you some new experiments to try and some helpful advice for activities in your flower garden.