The weather in the fall is usually conducive to being outdoors. As well as raking leaves onto our flower beds to form a protective blanket for winter, there are other useful chores to complete.
Plant as many spring-blooming bulbs as you can, and you'll be happy to see them flower next spring. Be sure to plant some allium bulbs, too, as they are deer resistant and increase year after year with long-lasting flowers at different times if you plant different varieties.
Fall clean-up should also include cutting down spent flower stalks and brown foliage so that the beds look neat. The more you cut down spent perennials and pull up annuals, the better your garden will look next spring when the bulbs push up.
Spring is often cold and rainy, and the garden gets muddy, so I prefer to do as much clean-up as I can in the fall, so the spring plants can emerge on a clean canvas. Of course, we don't cut down our shrubs but can tidy them up by cutting out dead wood. Never prune spring-blooming shrubs like lilacs and hydrangeas in the fall, however, as the stems contain the buds for next spring's bloom. Always prune them, and only if they need it, after they bloom next spring.
Collect the seed pods from shrubs like baptisia and hardy hibiscus and store them in paper envelopes indoors until next spring. If you don't need more of those plants in your own garden, you can share the seeds later with gardening friends or take them to spring plant swaps.
This is Moya Andrews, and today we focused on garden cleanup.