For many, fall is a season to rake leaves, carve pumpkins and prepare for the winter ahead. But living in Canada, we are lucky to have four seasons that allow us to change our gardens depending on the weather.
We talked to Canadian Tire gardening manager Katy Gilbert, on how to prepare and create the perfect fall garden.
Plan Before You Shop
"Map out the current state of your garden. Look at it and do an inventory on what plants you have. Think about what live goods will complement existing ones and how much room you have to incorporate new plants," she says. She also advises gardeners to think about possible obstacles like moving plants or creating beds for new ones.
Story continues below. Check out Gilbert's 5 tips for the best fall garden this year:
"Red, orange and gold are colours we think of when it comes to fall. You can incorporate these colours into your garden by planting live goods such as Fall Mums, Crimson Queen Japanese Maple or Icicle Pansies. Virginia Creeper, Autumn Blaze Maple, Burning Bush and Limelight Hydrangea are also great options because while they're green in the summer, their colours intensify in the fall to bright colours that range from deep pink to red to flaming orange. To add a contrasting punch to your garden, try planting Purple Asters," she says. A collection of Purple Asters.
Gilbert says one way to spice up your garden is by adding interesting pieces. "Anchor your garden and add some visual appeal by planting a variety of trees and shrubs. Ornamental trees or shrubs with interesting branches or bark such as Corkscrew Hazel or Red Twig Dogwood can make great additions to your space. Autumnal japanese garden in Victoria, B.C.
"Birds need a food source during the fall and winter months. You can help them out by planting bird-friendly plants that will provide them with food and add colour to your garden as well. Examples of such plants include Viburnums and Autumn Joy Sedum," she says. Viburnum.
Add texture to your garden by using a variety of objects and plants. "You can compliment waving plumes of grasses with more sedate Emerald Cedars or Upright Junipers. You can continue to add texture throughout your space by using outdoor accessories, such as cast iron urns, a rustic wooden bench or stone sculpture. The combination of the foliage and accessories will make your space more inviting and interesting," she says.
"The air may be crisper, but an outdoor heater can easily be added to your outdoor space so that you can enjoy it before the winter comes. Use the Havana Lantern Outdoor Heater to add a little ambiance to your space," she says. What's left? Grab a warm drink, snuggle up with a throw and enjoy your new fall garden.
Managing The Mess
"Use the mulching attachment on your lawn mower to add the natural nutrients of fallen leaves to your lawn -- (it's) free fertilizer! To quickly clear away leaves, use a leaf blower or you can use a traditional rake," she says. Gilbert recommends keeping your summer furniture clean by washing it down with water, using vinyl or polyester fabric, and storing furniture in a garage or shed. "For your deck, clear all the debris and wash it down with some water before applying a clear sealant or heavy-duty epoxy paint to protect it through the winter," she says.
Common Gardening Mistakes
Sometimes the most common mistakes can be avoided by following instructions. "Make sure that you read the instructions on the plant tags. The tags contain valuable information on how to plant and take care of the live goods. Another common mistake is not providing adequate room for your plants to grow. You don’t want to block your view with a huge tree directly in front of a window or have shrubs crowding up against the wall of your home," she says.
No Space Is Too Small
If you live in the city or don't have a backyard or lawn, Gilbert says there are ways to incorporate gardening inside the home. "Nothing says fall like a pot of mums. You can easily add these plants to any small space. Some of the more interesting fall mums options include annual grasses in their centers or a pot planted with a triple threat of orange, yellow and rust coloured blossoms," she says.