Leave the Leaves, Divide and Transplant the Perennials
What happened to complaining about the heat? It was just yesterday that air conditioners were cranked up all day and night. Ah, nothing like the simple joy of sleeping with the windows open. Now you hear the birds chirping at sunrise letting you know it’s time to rise, shine, and get on with your gardening.
The grass-cutting season is winding down. Make sure you cut your turf high, 3” minimum. Insist on a mulching mower for yourself or gardeners to keep those precious nutrients right where they belong. Use any fertilizer, amendments, or topsoil that may be taking up space in storage.
Mildew can be found attacking phlox, bee balm, peonies, and many plants this time of year. Cut and remove all infected plants. Make sure to gather up any fallen infected leaves. This is the time to make the tough decision to discard plants that always get infected. I know — you have had them so long, nurtured them, and their blooms are such a joy — but that mildew.
Fear not, there are mildew-resistant varieties of phlox, like white-blooming David, Blue Flame, Forever Pink, and Orange Perfection. Bee balm are usually deer-resistant, especially the purple- flowering native bergamot. It also resists mildew. Jacob’s Ladder, a flaming red-flowering variety is a super hummingbird attractor, mildew-resistant, but not as deer-resistant.
Neem Oil is a natural spray to deter mildew and insects. Spray all houseplants before bringing them back inside. Once inside, remember to place waterproof saucers underneath to protect furniture and floors. Add a thin layer of gravel to saucers to retain much-needed moisture to combat dry indoor conditions.
This is an ideal time to plant trees. DPW has been planting native trees around Rye. They are always looking for new tree planting locations. If you would like a street tree planted, contact DPW at 914-967-7464 or email@example.com.
While the City is busy planting trees, you can be busy planting shrubs and trees as well. Also, divide and transplant perennials. All new plantings need to be watered regularly until frost.
If you have renewed vegetable gardening energy, reseed with fast-growing salad mixes and radishes. Beet seeds can be planted now to provide clippings of the nutrient-rich greens before frost. Your Swiss chard is perking back up and will provide regular leaf harvesting until a hard frost.
Of course, plant many spring flowering bulbs. Consider daffodils, Spanish bluebells, and allium, which multiply and are deer-resistant. If you have a deer-free area, plant tulips. Otherwise, do not.
Save Your Leaves. They are turning color and falling. Gather them up, compost, or rake beneath shrubs and trees. Surprisingly, large leaf mounds will flatten out quickly. In the spring, you will discover colonies of worms at work. The soil will be richer, moister, and full of nutrients that your plants will love. (I just saved you a lot of time piling leaf bags along the curb!) You reduced your carbon footprint. You improved your plants’ health. You reduced Rye’s carting costs and saved DPW time picking up all those precious leaves. Now, you must and should feel good and ready to embrace the crisp and colorful season.