Start fall gardening in the South Okanagan to enjoy blooms until winter frost and see a successful spring – Penticton News

Casey Richardson

Now is a great time to set up your garden for fall and prepare for the next growing season in the South Okanagan by taking advantage of the milder weather and warm soil.

The Summerland ornamental garden specializes in presenting drought-resistant plants and good pollinators and has full garden beds all year round. Your gardeners are at work planting and pruning for the fall.

“This is a very good time to plant perennials if some plants have been lost or need replacing during the heat dome, or if you are starting a new garden in one location,” said Kathryn McCourt, Chair of the Gardening Committee for Gardens.

“At the moment the air is cool, but the ground is still warm. For plants, this means that there is not so much evaporation that they do not need as much water. The cool temperatures promote root growth and store nutrients, sugar, especially in the roots. “

The benefits also include less water usage and fewer insect pests hanging around.

“If plants have a head start in the fall, they can start growing and then start flowering earlier in the spring. So there are all sorts of good reasons to plant perennials in autumn. “

Recommended flowers for planting include garden mothers, petunias, marigolds, and ornamental cabbage.

“I would like to mention three annuals planted in spring that are still blooming very well and that I think are worth considering for the next year. One of them is the Salvia family, specifically evolutionary purple and the Salvias in this group bloom all summer and until freeze, ”said McCourt.

“They are really good feed for pollinators, and that’s one of the things we need to think about now with our wild bee population. [which] has problems. Another is heliotrope, very fragrant, also popular pollinator food. And the purple fountain grass looks fabulous right now. And you can enjoy that for us all summer long and right down to your heart. “

Another great option is asters that bloom from summer through fall, along with Japanese anemones and monkshood.

This is also an important time when gardens benefit from being pruned back in the fall.

“I like to cut back anything that gets muddy because I don’t like to deal with muddy, coarse leaves in the spring. So I cut back daylilies in autumn, and irises and lilies of the valley, hostas, these plants that simply cannot tolerate freezing. “

It’s a good time to add compost or some type of nutrient fertilizer to the soil so it can break down over the winter.

“Adding mulch is good for protection, especially for the new plants you planted in the fall, a little more mulch because God only knows what kind of winter we’ll have this year.”

The gardeners had a challenging year with the combination of drought and heat wave across the valley.

“It’s been a really challenging summer, especially in June in the so-called heat dome,” added McCourt. “We were very lucky here because we didn’t lose any perennials. But some smaller evergreens suffered considerably from the incoming sun on the south side. So we have evergreens with the brown needles on the south side and everything else. “

“Again, I think when you think of a perennial garden, now is the time to plant here in the South Okanagan.”

If you’re in need of plants, shrubs, and ornamental grasses, check out Summerland Ornamental Gardens’ fall plant sale, which launches online on Monday.

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