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Garden Ramblings, Issue #050
October 15, 2008


October 2008

Monthly Musings on the Garden Scene


If you prefer, you can view this month's issue online where you can also subscribe if this copy has been forwarded to you by a friend.

If you are reading the text version you will need to go online to see the videos.


In this issue:

- Letter from the Editor
- Fall Foliage in New England
- Fall Garden Cleanup
- October Gardening Tips
- Fall Color? Look to the Trees!
- Special Offers
- Tailpiece




Welcome to the October issue of Garden Ramblings. We are back to the usual format this month of two main articles with a short filler in between.

October is the month of "mists and mellow fruitfulness" and all that so we start with an article by Robin Monarch titled "Fall Garden Cleanup". Here you will find advice on what to do in your garden now and also some suggestions on planning for the new season in 2009.

In "Fall Color? Look to the Trees!" Victoria Rosendahl tells us that Fall is a great time to plant colorful trees for two very good reasons which she explains in her article.

In between there is a shorter piece by Bill Camarillo who gives us his "October Gardening Tips". These will be of particular interest to Californian gardeners, but the section on spring bulbs is relevant to all.

As usual there is a Special Offers section with all the bargains that I've managed to find this month.

The video this month is "Fall foliage in New England".

Enjoy the issue.




Fall foliage in New England




Fall Garden Cleanup
by Robin Monarch

Fall garden cleanup can be a sad time for many gardeners. Why? It marks an end to the growing season and all the spectacular bursts of color they've enjoyed since that first sprig of green peeked into their gardens last spring.


Yet for other gardeners though, fall cleanup signals a time of preparation and anticipation. That's right. Garden preparation in anticipation of the growing season to come NEXT year!

Fall is the time to cut back, almost to the ground, most of your perennials. Do remember to leave some of those tall ornamental grass stalks or maybe some of that sedum 'Autum Joy' standing though to give your garden a little winter appeal.

Think back. Remember how some of those flowers and plants seemed out of place or didn't look quite right where you planted them. And what about your garden items that were just plain unproductive this year? Fall is the time to move or remove those particular flowers and plants in preparation for next spring.

As most of your flowers and plants are dying back and will soon become decaying matter themselves, now is the time to supplement your garden with some good organic nourishment in preparation for the growing season next year. Fall is a good time to treat your garden to a nice 1-2" layer of compost all over it. Next spring your flowers and plants will surely thank you for it!

Have you been thinking of adding a new bed to your garden area? Fall is the perfect time to set up an easy in-ground bed that will be ready for you to fill with flowers and plants next spring.

Also, remember those garden workhorses ... your tools. Fall garden cleanup includes caring for those handy helpers that assist you with your gardening chores all season long. Give them a little extra attention before putting them to rest until next year. Wipe off any residual soil or dirt, sharpen any items that have become dull with use, and oil or lube any that may need it. Hang them up or put them in a dry place so they'll be easy to find when you need them next year.

Now grab those gardening catalogs from off the shelf where you set them after the planting was all done this year. There are so many gorgeous blooms out there just waiting to be chosen to be planted next season by some gardener. Use this gardening "down time" that's available in the fall and winter to decide which beautiful flowers and plants will be among those you plant in your garden areas next spring.

If you keep these things in mind, rather than being one of those gardeners who is sad that another growing season has ended, you'll be one of the gardeners who make fall garden cleanup a time of anticipation. Use this time to prepare for those spectacular areas of bloom that await you in the coming spring!


About the Author
Robin, a gardening enthusiast, published and manages a website for people wanting to get their flower garden set up quickly 'n easily. Check out her websit to find out how to set up an easy in-ground bed and get a head start for next spring's planting.


October Gardening Tips
by Bill Camarillo

Planting cool season flowers and lawns in October will keep backyard landscapes looking fresh with vibrant colors throughout fall and winter, say experts at Agromin, a Camarillo-based manufacturer of premium soil products.

Cool Weather Flowers:About this time of the year, many summer flowers have lost their luster and gardens need an infusion of hardy new growth that thrive during the upcoming cooler months. Flowers that do particularly well in fall include sweet peas, pansies, violas, primrose, calendula, chrysanthemums, cineraria, dianthus, delphiniums, Iceland poppies, nemesia, snapdragon and wild flowers. Wildflowers that thrive in Southern California are California poppies, larkspur, linaeria and gypsophila.

Spring Bulbs: Plant daffodils, hyacinth, tulips and crocus bulbs. Planting now should result in resilient, bright flowers in spring. Make sure your soil's clay content isn't too high. Till soil conditioner into the top 12 inches of soil. This should help break up the clay and make the soil more conducive for planting.

Lawns: Lawns are still growing vigorously in October. Mow weekly. Now is the time to replant or patch with cool season grasses such as fescue, ryegrass and bluegrass. If planting from seed, use a topper mix to help keep seeds moist and to stimulate growth.

Fall Gardens: Gardens can thrive year-round. Pull out summer vegetables that have stopped producing. Plant such herbs as oregano, cilantro, dill, fennel and thyme. Garlic, peas, spinach, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, lettuce and rutabaga do well when planted in fall. Apply a two-inch layer of organic mulch over plantings to help conserve moisture and encourage growth.

For more planting and gardening tips, go to


About the Author
Bill Camarillo is CFO of Agromin, a Camarillo, California-based manufacturer of premium soil products for the agriculture and horticulture trades and for consumer use. Each month, Agromin receives and processes hundreds of thousands of tons of urban wood and green waste. Agromin then uses a safe, organic and scientific system to formulate its soil products from the processed recycled green materials.


Fall Color? Look to the Trees!
by Victoria Rosendahl

Looking for fall color? It is not too late to add it to your own backyard, regardless of the space you have to work with. Fall is a great time to plant colorful trees for two reasons: when you pick out your tree in the fall, you can be sure to get the color you desire and planting in the fall protects the newly planted tree from exposure to the hot summer sun.

Two favorites for this time of year are varieties of maple trees -- the Amur Maple and the Japanese maple. Let's take a look at both of them.

Amur Maple

You can plant the Amur maple in Zones 3 through 8 but if you are planting above Zone 6, make sure you do it about six weeks prior the first hard frost. The fall foliage of the Amur Maple varies in color from yellow to deep red or even purple. Again, now is the time to choose the color you prefer.

These trees do well in full sun to light shade. They love moist, well drained soil, but will tolerate dry soil to drought conditions as well as some wind. They grow fifteen to twenty feet tall and fifteen to twenty-eight feet wide. Not only will the Amur Maple provide beautiful fall foliage, but fragrant white flowers will bloom in spring. The perfect accent for your colorful spring garden!

Japanese Maple

The leaves of the Japanese maple also may vary greatly in color including yellow, bronze, red and purple. For best results, plant in zones 5 through 8. They will thrive in light dappled shade and evenly moist, well drained soil. These trees should be protected from drying winds. They will grow 15 to 25 feet tall and 10 to 25 feet wide. In spring, you will see small red or purple flowers, but you've got to look closely as they are insignificant from a distance.

A Japanese maple comes in thread-leaf - where the leaves are thin and stringy - or broad leaf.

Both the Amur and Japanese maples are great for large container planting or if you are landscaping in a small area like a sidewalk or deck. When using a container, the choices of materials are limitless - plastic tubs, wooden barrels or clay pots. Just be careful of clay in the summer as it can leach water from the soil. You might also want to put this pot on wheels so you can move it easily if need be.

Whatever your container choice, proper drainage water drainage is key. If the container does not already have drainage, drill two holes per each square foot of bottom area. Also, be sure to use a soil mixture with the proper balance of water absorption for your maple trees and at the same time is porous enough to provide air space. Miracle-Gro puts out a good water retention potting soil but it's pricey.

Now is the time to brighten up your fall landscape with a maple tree or two and enjoy the color!


About the Author
Victoria Rosendahl has been getting her hands dirty in the garden since she was 10. She writes a free monthly ezine, The Frugal Gardener, ( and has designed the ultimate raised garden bed, GardenRack, which allows you to garden without bending or kneeling. Check out her site at or send her an email at [email protected]


Special Offers


With all the major sales over for the time being, I am afraid that there is little to report this month.


Apart from a few reductions in the Outlet section Gardener's Supply Company is currently just offering a 10% discount when you spend $50 or more. Click the banner and you will see that this offer ends on October 29.



Gardener's Supply Company



Dutch Gardens have finished their Spring Sale but you can still save $25 when you spend $50 as shown on the banner.



Dutch Gardens, Inc.





Gurney's Seed & Nursery Co are offering a climbing rose collection at 50% off and, as you see from the banner, you can still save $20 when you spend $40 or more.



Shop at for your vegetable and flower seeds!





This month Nature Hills Nursery are offering savings of at least 50% on over 100 clearance items.









Make a Keyhole Garden




Please feel free to pass on this newsletter to your gardening friends. Do let me have your feedback and suggestions to: [email protected]

That's all until next month but in the meantime you can always look at my Blog Garden Supplies News

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