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Autumn Tricks

If you have time, perhaps you will share some of your tricks in the comments below.

raked leaves

Photo: Waferboard (flickr)

You can use those raked leaves as mulch.

After a killing frost, I usually push my dead annuals such as petunias and million bells back into their pots and squash them down with my hands. If they spring back up, I sprinkle a little potting soil on top of them and leave them in the pots to winter over. Usually in the spring, the seeds have germinated and I have new annuals in my pots. Of course, they need to be fertilized regularly all summer as they are growing in old soil, but it is a good trick.

Also each fall, I try to cut back as much of my spent perennial plants as I can. Esters and mums that grow tall are especially untidy if the spring bulbs come up under them. I find that in our climate where the springs are often wet and cold that I prefer to do as much cutting down I can in the fall.

Another trick I use in the fall is to shred all of those leaves that we rake and use them, as well as pine needles, as mulch.

Another of my long-term garden tricks is to plant starts of perennials that I especially love in a number of different parts of my garden to provide insurance if the plant dies out in one location. I do this a lot with mums that I would hate to lose.

If you have time, perhaps you will share some of your tricks in the comments below.

Moya Andrews

, originally from Queensland, Australia, served as Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculties at Indiana University until 2004. In the same year, Moya began hosting Focus on Flowers for WFIU. In addition, Moya does interviews for Profiles, is a member of the Bloomington Hospital Board, and authored Perennials Short and Tall from Indiana University Press.

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