We are shifting gears quickly at the shop. We are still managing new landscape and hardscape installations, but we are also closing up gardens and handling leaf removal. The fall garden chore season is definitely upon us. In my gardens at home, it’s a bit of a different story.
As you know, my landscape is all gardens, very natural gardens, with no lawn in sight. I incorporate many native plants and allow all of my plants to do as they would naturally: there’s very little control and regimented formation and communities. For the type of landscape I’m cultivating in my yard, I have to let nature takes its course as much as possible for it to be a successful nature-inspired garden. So, now is not the time to cut.
Jennifer, one of our horticulturalists, was out today for a tour. She works with our maintenance team and I could tell she wanted to clean up some of the spent ferns, maybe deadhead a few plants—it’s in her nature and part of her job. But this is one garden where I tell the maintenance teams to hold off a bit longer. Each fall I let the garden shut down on its own. The asters may be done blooming, but it’s quite interesting to see the form of the plants contrasted with others in the garden. The structure, or what we sometimes call architecture, can really be appreciated. No longer are leaves and flowers obscuring the view and distracting us. Now, only the bare bones of each plant, the garden itself, is finally on display to study and admire.
After a hard frost, then I will have it cut back and blanked with a fresh layer of pinestraw for the winter. Come spring, the straw is left as is and plants that were once slumbering, awaken and easily grow through the layer of needles, just as nature intended.
~ Pete Wimberg