Tulips should be planted before the first frost. Now this isn't a hard and fast
rule. I have planted tulips after the 5th frost. It is just easier to turn the
ground while it is still warm. You can't wait forever. The tulip bulbs need to
have a certain amount of time in cold ground. There are ways to force this
without mother nature's help, but it is easier to just take the time to do it
Rose Bushes Should be Covered
Now there are different kinds of rose bushes. I am talking about the Hybrid
Teas in Illinois. After the temperatures begin to go below 32 degrees, cut the
trunk back to 15 to 18 inches high. Then cover the bushes with leaves. Make
sure the entire bush is covered. Then I recommend you get a styrofoam cover for
the bush. Place this cover over the rose bush and put a brick or something
heavy over the top of it so it doesn't blow off.
If you have a methodology that you have used in the past that has worked for
you, then don't go changing it now. Do the same thing you always do. These
roses are delicate in the Illinois winters and need tender loving care.
Transplant Plants to New Locations
This can be an excellent time of the year to take you Irises and move them to a
new location in the garden. We just took ours from the front of the house and
placed them on the west side of the house. We'll see if they flourish there as
nicely as in the front. Perennials you can transplant in fall:
Fertilize the Lawn One More Time
If you like having a green and lush lawn, then fall is a good time to feed it
with fertilizer. You really only need to fertilize a lawn but twice a year.
Once in the spring and once in the fall. But, don't skip the fall feeding. This
prepares the grass to be ready to grow in the spring once the ground begins to
Do Some More Weeding
Weeding can be hard work and by this time of year the last thing you want to do
is more weeding. But, just a couple of more hours weeding in the fall will make
your job in the spring so much easier. The key to good weeding is to do some
everytime you go into the garden. A little here and a little there and you
control them. Otherwise come mid-summer when all you want to do is sit by the
pool or even in the pool; instead you have these weeds in all the flower beds
and someone telling you they need to be removed. Make you summer more fun by
getting a good start on them in the fall.
Cut Back Cone Flowers
This is really a personal choice. Some people like to have the dried seeds
standing up all winter long. They can really add interest when the snow is
sitting a foot or two high and all you see is the head of the coneflowers. But,
other people are tired of them and think they look ugly. Well cut down the
flower stalks. Hopefully, you glimpsed a bird or two eating the seeds of the
coneflower. You think the birds should bend the flower to the ground, but no
they just gently sway as they eat the seeds. By this time of the year the birds
are heading south so if you don't want the head all winter then cut them down.
Bring in the Bird Bath and Bird Feeders
Depending on the material of your bird bath you may want to bring them into the
garage. I have a bird bath that is ceramic that has a lot of character. It
isn't level, it has cracked completely in half and the birds think it is too
deep. But, we love it. I will bring it into the garage this weekend. The bird
feeders should be cleaned out with soap and water before bringing inside. Some
people will feed the birds all winter. I like to encourage the birds that
should head south to start. By mid October I will stop feeding them. I normally
don't feed the birds during the winter.
Cut Back the Spent Flowers of the Yarrow, Salvia, DayLilies, Daisy, and
Mid October I was cutting flower stalks down. I spent my time on the Yarrow,
Salvia, Daylilies, Daisies and Astilbes. These are personal choices. Mary and I
choose to remove the spent stalks. It gives a cleaner look to the garden. Just
grab a handful of flower stalks and cut with a pair of garden scissors. You can
get through a garden bed in about an hour.