April is an exciting time for gardeners!

Late summer blooms.The warm weather is here at last, and it’s here to stay for a while. We’re completely free of any risk of frost, and if you haven’t gotten your spring planting done yet now is the time! Many of you have already seen the trees, shrubs, and other perennials begin to bud, bloom, and leaf out. Our late bloomers aren’t far behind. So, what do we need to focus on in April?

For your lawns, it’s too late now to apply a pre-emergent to prevent weeds, but you’ll have another opportunity in June. If you do have pesky weeds in your lawn you can still use a broadleaf weed killer with at least 1% 2,4-D but make sure to apply it only where needed early in the morning when there is little or no wind. Remember that it can damage or kill other plants and flowers in your garden beds. Now is also the time to apply an all-nitrogen fertilizer to your lawn to encourage growth and give it lush green leaves. When mowing, do not mow too low. If you lowered your mower to scalp your lawn last month remember to raise it up. Taller lawns create healthier grass and encourage better root growth.

This is the perfect time to plant all of your heat loving annual varieties from 4″ or 6″ pots, or from seedlings you started indoors earlier this year. Perennials should be started from quart or gallon pots. Annual varieties include purslane, lantana, pentas, purple fountain grass for your full sun gardens. In the shade you can add coleus, caladiums, and begonias. If you’re wanting to add a rose or two to your garden this is also a great time for that as well. We recommend varieties such as Earth-Kind, but other brands such as Knockout roses are also a good choice. For climbing roses it’s hard to go wrong with the stunning Joseph’s Coat or Peggy Martin, just remember that your climbers will need a trellis or some other support. Keep a close eye out for rose-rosette, also known as witches broom, which is an incurable virus that can quickly spread among rose plantings.

Late summer blooms.Once your spring flowering trees and shrubs are done for the season you can start pruning and shaping them. Wisteria, redbud, and dogwood trees should be pruned when the flowers drop. Wisteria should be pruned by hand to help it maintain a more natural look. For your trees you should remove any low hanging branches, water sprouts, hanging branches, or crossed branches. On your stone fruit trees such as peaches or plums you should keep the previous advice in mind but pay close attention to where fruit is setting. Judicious pruning will help the tree direct resources to the fruit that remains and produce larger fruits on those remaining.

As we noted earlier, weeds are returning along with the warm weather. Make sure to keep on top of weeds in any of your garden beds. Adding a layer of mulch after removing weeds helps immensely in weed suppression. Mulch also aids in moisture retention and soil temperature. This will become critically important as we move into the summer months when the hot Texas sun can dry everything while raising surface soil temperatures well above 130° in some cases. Along those same lines it is critically important to make sure your lawn and plants are receiving adequate water. New growth in the spring is heavily dependent on spring rains supplemented by your irrigation system. Modern sprinkler systems using ET (Evapotranspiration) controllers are one of the best ways to keep your plants properly hydrated. They tap into the internet and pull rainfall totals, humidity information, and more to precisely apply the amount of water needed. This not only helps your garden but can save you from a hefty water bill later this year. These modern systems can also be monitored and controlled from handy phone-based apps so that you can keep an eye on things no matter where you are.

It certainly is an exciting time of year, and Desiree Gardens is always here to help. Need help with your irrigation or sprinkler system? Does your garden need an overhaul or just a general checkup? Give us a call at 817-202-4808, or drop us a line and contact us here, to find out how Desiree can help you create a wonderful garden with a budget you can afford.

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March is here! Is it too early to start planting?

Late summer blooms.The first Texas bluebonnets are beginning to appear, and that can mean only one thing: The early spring has finally arrived. This is the time of year that we can begin planting frost hardy plants.

There is always a chance of a late spring frost, especially prior to Easter weekend. With each passing week however, the chance of a killing frost drops. For most areas of North Texas the chance of a killing frost drops to 50% by March 15th. By the first week of April the chance of a killing frost drops to 10%. February and March this year have been unseasonably warm however, meaning that in all likelihood we will be safe to plant within the first two weeks of March, but there is always that slim chance.

That being said, there are a number of plants that you can plant secure in the knowledge that they will continue to thrive even through another freeze. Perennials like gladiolas, mallows such as turks cap, cannas, and salvias are always a safe bet this time of year. Annual color examples include foxgloves, larkspur, and sweet alyssum. These should be planted as soon as possible to ensure that they have a long growing season before the Texas heat of summer takes hold. Any seeds that were started inside over the winter can begin to be moved outside so that they can adjust to the sun and temperature, but make sure to bring them back in if temperatures threaten to fall below 32°. The same applies to any container plants that have been overwintered indoors: the soil in containers gets much cooler much faster than your average ground soil, so keep a close eye on the weather. Better yet, head to DesireeGardens.com and sign up for our newsletter: we send out warnings any time the weather looks like it will take a turn for the worst.

If you have been putting off tree and shrub pruning, this is pretty much your last chance to perform this chore before leaves and buds start to appear. The exception to this is any spring flowering trees and shrubs. If you have dogwoods, wisterias, or fruit trees in your garden you should wait until after the blossoms have dropped. Early spring flowering plants set their buds in the autumn and should be pruned in late spring or early summer. This helps to ensure a glorious bloom next year. Any other trees and shrubs should be pruned over winter, with March being your last chance until next winter. Remove any low hanging branches to raise the canopy, and trim inside growth where the leaves of the plant are less productive, but do not trim oaks yet. Texas oaks should be trimmed in late summer when the chance of oak wilt fungal infection is at a minimum. Finally, if you have transplanted any woody shrubs or trees, cut back the canopy by around 40% in order to compensate for roots that were lost during the digging process.

For those with an irrigation system, now is the time to switch over to a spring watering schedule. The increased sunlight and the new growth of plants that have been recently added, or those coming out of dormancy, means that their watering needs are drastically increasing. Now is also the time for an irrigation audit. Run each zone one by one and check for leaks, poor water flow from spray heads, clogs, and breaks in drip line. Repair or replace these as necessary.

Late summer blooms.Lawns are also beginning to perk back up as the soil temperatures increase and they receive more sunlight. Take time early this month to scalp your lawn. We don’t need to get down to the thatch for a proper scalp. Scalping your lawn can dramatically improve the appearance of your spring lawn as it grows in. Simply drop your mower by no more than two notches when performing this task. Apply a pre-emergent weed killer early this month. Once it warms up and you begin to see weeds in your lawn, it is already too late. We do not recommend using any weed and feed product whatsoever. Many if not all weed and feed products can damage your trees and shrubs. Later this month you can add an all-nitrogen fertilizer. This will promote vigorous growth and a lush green color.

Finally, this is a fine time to make any changes to your hardscape and irrigation system. If you are putting in a retaining wall, pavers or pathways, patios or pergolas, do it now. Desiree Gardens offers a full suite of planning, consultation, irrigation design and installation services to help you create a wonderful garden this year, but don’t wait too long to book your appointment. Our spring schedule is filling up fast.

Need help with your irrigation or sprinkler system? Does your garden need an overhaul or just a general checkup? Maybe you just need a helping hand to protect sensitive plants from freeze and frost. Give us a call at 817-202-4808, or drop us a line and contact us here, to find out how Desiree can help you create a wonderful garden with a budget you can afford.

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February is here, and it’s time to get ready for spring!

bulbsFebruary begins to herald the change to spring here in North Texas, and while we often get some of our hardest freezes in February it’s also the time when your garden will begin to wake up. Most plants use a combination of available sunlight, as the days grow longer, as well as soil temperature to decide when to come out of dormancy. Now is also the time to begin planning your spring garden. But what needs to be done now?

This is the perfect time to prune woody trees and shrubs, except for oaks, while they are still dormant. Any remaining ornamental grasses and perennials should also get a trim to be ready for spring, although there are some exceptions: plants like wisteria set their buds in the fall and should not be trimmed until later in the spring after flowering. If there are any deadfall, loose brush, or annuals that have run their course, it is time to do a deep cleaning in your garden and pull all that out. It’s not too late to plant new trees and shrubs, but it’s wise to prune by as much as 50% (depending on species) them when they are planted. Nandinas, for example, whether new or existing should be severely pruned back with the tallest canes taken back all the way to ground level. This will encourage more bushy growth and prevent them from becoming too leggy.

If you are starting anything from seed they should be planted indoors for now so that they are ready for planting when the soil temperature warms up a bit. Certain perennials should also be planted, or at least get them ready to be planted, such as mallows, gloriosas, fall asters and salvias. Cool season annuals can also be swapped out for iceland poppies, larkspur, and sweet alyssum.

Pruning and trimmingYou can begin to fertilize your trees and shrubs right now, but hold off a little bit on any cold-sensitive plants. They should wait until late March or just before Easter before being fertilized. By the same token your lawns should be scalped, fertilized (depending on the species, it’s still to early to fertilize your warm weather lawns such as St. Augustine) and possibly amend with peat moss towards the end of this month. If possible, make sure to bag the clippings and use it in your compost or as mulch. Remove any winter seeds and start looking to use a pre-emergent weed killer later this month or in early March depending on the weather. If you need to aerate your lawn to help reduce soil compaction this is a good time for that as well.

Remember that we can get hard freezes even through late March and early April, so try not to get overeager and be prepared to use frost cloth to protect your sensitive plants from early spring cold snaps. This is an exciting time of year for gardeners as the warmth of spring is just barely in sight. Consult your local nursery to see what plants are in stock and appropriate to be planted right now, and don’t hesitate to pick up the phone and give us a call for a consultation specific to your garden goals.

Need help with your irrigation or sprinkler system? Does your garden need an overhaul or just a general checkup? Maybe you just need a helping hand to protect sensitive plants from freeze and frost. Give us a call at 817-202-4808, or drop us a line and contact us here, to find out how Desiree can help you create a wonderful garden with a budget you can afford.

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After a hard freeze, don’t panic! How to evaluate damage.

Winter garden statuaryWell, we’ve finally emerged from the frigid ice-box that was North Texas these past few days. Hopefully you’ve been able to shelter your most sensitive plants through cleverly designed micro-climates, deep watering, and judicious use of frost cloth. Frost cloth is remarkably effective in the day time when properly applied: it provides a 5°F to as much as 10° rise in temperatures during the day time. That’s more than adequate for most plants as it brings our lows in the teens up to 25° plus. The danger comes at night when their effectiveness dwindles, leaving plants to rely on adequate water and ground temperature to help them weather the storm.

The most important thing when evaluating frost or freeze damage is not to panic. Some damage is easy to find: black or mushy leaves and stems are easy to find on non-woody plants and can be removed straight away, but don’t just start pulling out plants. While some damage is normal, many many plants will be able to recover with the first warmup of spring. Some plants will die completely back to the ground only to recover from their ground insulated roots. Other plants will look damaged with curled leaves, some discoloration, and branches that appear dry and dead. For woody plants, shrubs and trees, patience is key. Certain palms, waxleaf ligustrums, oleanders, and gardenias are some example of woody plants that cannot tolerate the cold. Still, give these guys time and wait until spring to give them a fair chance for a proper evaluation.

January is often one of our driest months, but we’ve been blessed with an abundance of precipitation both during and after our most recent hard freeze. As mentioned in a previous article, water is one of the best defenses against freeze damage. Moist soil and mulch hold an immense amount of water, and that water resists changing into ice until it has lost a significant amount of energy. Liquid water will remain at 32°F for quite some time before freezing. This is also why well watered and hydrated plants suffer less damage than dry plants. Additionally, water features and swimming pools will contribute heat and atmospheric moisture (humidity) to the surrounding plants.

Winter garden statuaryYour frost cloth provides wind protection as well and prevents wind burn on sensitive leaves. Plant location also plays a huge factor here. We mentioned creating a micro-climate for your garden earlier. This means that your most sensitive plants should be on the south side of a structure like a fence or house where they not only get wind protection but also benefit from the direct sun in the daylight. Hardier plants can be placed on the north side of houses, fences, or other structures. The hardiest evergreens can be placed so that they provide shelter from biting north winds for more sensitive plants that are south of this wind block. Finally, brick, stone, and rock, including large boulders, absorb a significant amount of solar radiation during the day that is then released back as heat during the night.

To recap, if you are using some or all of these tactics your plants will stand a much better chance of surviving cold snaps. But after things warm up don’t panic! Some damage is to be expected but many plants are much hardier than people give them credit for. They may look a little sad for a while, but give them a chance until spring to see how well they actually fared before you start cutting limbs and branches or digging them out.

Need help with your irrigation or sprinkler system? Does your garden need an overhaul or just a general checkup? Maybe you just need a helping hand to protect sensitive plants from freeze and frost. Give us a call at 817-202-4808, or drop us a line and contact us here, to find out how Desiree can help you create a wonderful garden with a budget you can afford.

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Freeze Warning! How to protect your plants.

Winter garden statuaryWe are on the cusp of a frigid couple of days this week, and with temperatures dropping into the single digits even some of your hardiest plants may need a little bit of help.

Let’s start by going over plants that will do fine in this cold: Any trees or shrubs that have lost their leaves for the winter will be fine. They are dormant and, absent the roots actually freezing, should be fine. One exception is container plants. Any trees or shrubs – any plant really – that is in a container should get special attention as this cold snap can freeze the roots of container plants far easier than plants in the ground. All of your winter annuals should be fine, and some perennials that have managed to stick around this long, even if they won’t tolerate the cold without dying back to the ground, will be okay. Don’t panic if you see some of these plants die back to the ground. Come spring they will explode with life again.

If you do have container plants that you cannot bring inside, make sure to give them a good deep watering and then wrap the container in blankets or frost cloth. This method works well for your other plants in the ground that need protection: frost cloth or blankets should cover the plant entirely and be staked to the ground. If you’re using moving blankets or something that is more difficult to stake you can anchor them with bricks or rock. Again, deep watering is one of the best ways to prevent freeze damage. Water has to lose quite a bit of energy in order to make the change over to ice. This means that, until it freezes, it will stay right at 32°F until it finally gets cold enough to change to ice. For plants in the ground it will likely never freeze in our area due to the natural warmth of the ground.

Deep watering before a freeze also ensures that your plants are properly hydrated. The same principle we discussed above also applies here. Dried out plants can freeze much easier than plants that are well watered. Frost cloth or blankets help here as well by keeping the harsh winds off of the plant. During cold spells like this that frigid air can cause wind burn and damage leaves on your evergreen plants.

Need help with your irrigation or sprinkler system? Does your garden need an overhaul or just a general checkup? Maybe you just need a helping hand to protect sensitive plants from freeze and frost. Give us a call at 817-202-4808, or drop us a line and contact us here, to find out how Desiree can help you create a wonderful garden with a budget you can afford.

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Gardening in January? Don’t Miss This Update.

Winter is the perfect time to plant a tree or shrub like this Japanese maple.The cold weather has settled in for the winter and most gardens have gone to sleep for the season. But that doesn’t mean that we’re done: Now is the perfect time for getting all of your necessary chores done before the big spring.

The winter, when woody trees and shrubs are dormant, is the perfect time for planting. If you’ve considered adding these to your landscape, especially Japanese maples, now is the perfect time to set them in the ground. You won’t see much activity until the spring, but the roots will be active setting your new plant up for a marvelous flush of new leaves when the warm weather returns. Despite their dormancy, it is still critically important to properly water in your new trees and shrubs in order to encourage proper root growth. Consider native trees for your Texas garden. They will be more drought tolerant and will adapt quickly to Texas soils and climate. Now is also the time to divide perennials and biennials such as phlox, violets, irises, and daylilies if they are crowded. This will help them grow better and produce more flowers in the spring.

For all trees except for oaks (these are best trimmed in late summer due to the oak wilt fungus) this is the time to prune and trim as well. How much to trim and where depends heavily on the species. A certified arborist from Desiree Gardens can help you to determine where and how much to cut so that your plants have the best shot at a glorious spring. This is also a great time for excess brush and deadfall, including any dead annuals, to be hauled out of your garden. This will give you a nice blank slate when the warm weather returns. Don’t forget to add a nice layer of mulch afterwards.

Irrigation systems should be set to water less frequently, as the majority of plants do not need as much water in the winter. Plant water usage is heavily dependent not just on temperature, but also on the amount of sunlight the plant receives. That sunlight, combined with water and CO2 is what your garden uses to generate energy and grow, or to store for later in the winter when there is not as much sun. A little water is still necessary as we go through the late winter droughts that are common here, but don’t neglect to ensure that your rain/freeze sensor is working properly.

For winter color, annuals such as dianthus and pansies can be found in abundance at your local nursery. You might also look into some other winter blooming perennials such as camellias and hellebores. Also known as lenten roses, hellebores are incredibly hardy and their blooms can withstand the harshest of freezes here in North Texas. These little guys, along with ornamental cabbage and kale are available right now from Desiree Gardens.

Need help with your irrigation or sprinkler system? Does your garden need an overhaul or just a general checkup? Maybe you just need a helping hand to protect sensitive plants from freeze and frost. Give us a call at 817-202-4808, or drop us a line and contact us here, to find out how Desiree can help you create a wonderful garden with a budget you can afford.

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Is my Garden Done? Learn about these necessary garden activities for December.

Well folks, we’ve had our first frost of the season. Hopefully any tender plants that you’ve not already brought inside were in a well protected micro-climate or were covered with frost cloth. With night-time temperatures regularly reaching into the 40s right now all of your true tropicals such as plumeria, bananas, and bougainvillea should be brought inside for the winter. But is your gardening season really done?

Winter is the perfect time to plant a tree or shrub like this Japanese maple.Planting Trees and Woody Shrubs
When your woody perennial shrubs and trees are dormant is the best time to plant them. That time of year is starting right now! During the summer, trees spend their time gathering energy from the sun and combine it with water and carbon dioxide to create sugars and starches that they store and use to live on later when they are dormant. It is during this time when they have the best store of energy and are primed and ready for further root growth in their new location. Whether you’re looking at moving some boxwoods, or planting a huge oak, this is the time to give them every chance of success.

Irrigation and Sprinkler Systems
After a long hot summer, it should be pretty obvious if certain areas of your garden are getting the correct amount of water. Some areas may have been too dry, while others turned into a swampy mess. Or maybe you just noticed all of the water being wasted on your driveway and sidewalk. Now is the perfect time for an irrigation audit to see how it is performing. It’s also a good time to get any digging done and out of the way while the majority of your garden is dormant. Whether you need to add a zone, have some sprinkler heads relocated, maybe add some drip, or just flush and clean your system, now is the time to do it. Even if you don’t need any of the above, most systems should be adjusted to change the watering duration and frequency to the fall and winter season when water demand is at its lowest.

Hardscapes and Water Features
In addition to irrigation, if you’re looking toward adding a water feature or hardscaping such as a retaining wall, outdoor kitchen, concrete work, etc. it is best to do so now when plants are dormant in order to avoid any possible damage. Pavers, garden paths, pondless waterfalls, or full blown koi ponds are all on the menu. If you have teak, cedar, or other outdoor wood decor you might consider sanding, restaining, or resealing those boards after having been exposed to the drying heat and harsh UV rays from the past few months. Now is the perfect time to get started on these projects so that you’ll be ready for the coming spring.

Winter garden statuaryBirds and Other Critters
A beautiful garden is not just about the plants. Many gardeners love having bird feeders, bird baths, squirrel feeders, or other items to attract local wildlife and help them overwinter. Objects like bird baths can attract multiple species, including our precious pollinators like the humble honey bee, which need access to water year round. Leaving leaf litter or deep mulch to compost on your garden beds over the winter can also attract and provide a habitat for many beneficial insects and critters such as toads, spiders, lizards, snakes, and even newts and salamanders in some areas. Some of these critters may seem icky but they provide a huge benefit to your garden through their predation on harmful insects. It’s also the perfect time to place bird houses, nesting boxes, or bee hotels so that all of our garden buddies have warm places to cuddle up during the cold winter months.

Need help with your irrigation or sprinkler system? Does your garden need an overhaul or just a general checkup? Maybe you just need a helping hand to protect sensitive plants from freeze and frost. Give us a call at 817-202-4808, or drop us a line and contact us here, to find out how Desiree can help you create a wonderful garden with a budget you can afford.

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What’s going on in my North Texas garden in November?

Cooler weather has arrived, and the leaves are falling. Some of the best garden color of the year is here right now! Depending on what plants you have, this fall growth can last well into December. In addition to adding in pansies for winter color, other annuals like petunias will often enjoy a second bloom well into the beginning of winter.

Autumn blooms.Winter Flowering Plants
Camellias are known for their beautiful, waxy flowers that come in various colors, including white, pink, and red. They bloom from late fall through early spring, depending on the variety. Witch hazel produces unique, spidery flowers in shades of yellow, orange, or red from late winter to early spring. It’s a fragrant and attractive winter-blooming shrub. Hellebores, also known as lenten roses, bloom from late winter to early spring. They offer a range of colors, including white, pink, purple, and green. These hardy perennials are a great addition to winter gardens, and don’t forget their close relative the christmas rose. These are known for blooming right through the holidays. Finally, we have edgeworthia, also known as paperbush, features fragrant yellow flowers in late winter. The blossoms are unique and resemble small paper lanterns.

Pruning and Trimming
With the exception of oak trees, it’s just about time to look at pruning and trimming your woody plants. Prune deciduous trees and shrubs while they are dormant. This includes removing dead or damaged branches and shaping plants as needed. Don’t forget to mark low hanging branches before the leaves start dropping: The reduction in weight will cause the canopy to pop up higher and make it a little more difficult to ID low hanging limbs. Avoid heavy pruning of spring-blooming shrubs, such as wisteria, as it may reduce next year’s flowers. While we’re pruning and trimming, it’s also a good time to remove spent annuals and clear out dead or diseased plant material. This helps prevent pests and diseases from overwintering in your garden.

Leaves: Rake them?
While leaf litter can create amazing compost, it’s usually not a great idea to let it pile up on your lawn or garden beds. One option is to use a mulching mower to chop up the leaves and allow them to fall in-between the blades of grass. This keeps the nutrients in the soil while allowing your lawn to breathe, and it helps to reduce some fungi that can be detrimental to your lawn. Compost is another great option if you have room. Some people prefer their garden beds to be nice and clean, but those plants still want the nutrients. A compost bin can be an effective way to maintain a neat yard and garden while providing you with nutrient dense material. Simply add a little bit before adding mulch to your beds, and remember that a little goes a long way. On the other hand, a nice layer of leaves on a dormant bed provides excellent insulation for the roots against the cold and encourages the growth of native critters.

Autumn blooms.Planning for Spring
Your spring flowering bulbs such as crocuses, tulips, and daffodils should be in the ground now. When planting spring bulbs check the soil depth requirements for each species as some prefer to be right up near the surface while others prefer to be a little deeper. This is also the time to start work on any irrigation or hardscape projects. As our garden starts to go dormant it’s a good time to do an irrigation audit and make any needed repairs. It’s also a good time to make any hardscape changes or additions when plants are dormant in order to reduce damage to them. While you’re doing this, don’t forget to start any design or planning for spring plants. Most plants are not available year-round, and planning for your spring garden may mean talking to your gardener or nurseryman to narrow down dates when certain species are best planted.

Need help with your irrigation or sprinkler system? Does your garden need an overhaul or just a general checkup? Give us a call at 817-202-4808, or drop us a line and contact us here, to find out how Desiree can help you create a wonderful garden with a budget you can afford.

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It’s Fall Garden Time! Garden Activities for October

After this long hot and dry summer, it’s so nice to see gardens starting to perk back up and show off a little. It’s not quite time to put your garden to bed for the winter. Just like our North Texas spring gardens are ended by the heat and lack of rain, fall gardens are only ended by the first hard freeze that usually comes in late December or occasionally January. That means your fall garden is just as important, and can be just as vibrant as your spring garden.

Autumn blooms.Fall Flowering Perennials
Anyone who has a teenager even tangentially involved in high-school football knows that mums are a classic choice for fall color. What many people don’t realize is that this perennial can provide exceptional fall color to you garden. They come in various colors and sizes and can be used in beds, borders, or containers. Mums are one of the last flowers to go dormant in the cold of winter, and when they do they might look dead, but wait! You can trim back the dead and the next year your mums will return. Coral bells are another perennial that is available in nurseries right now. Many of these Heuchera varieties offer colorful foliage year-round, but their leaves can become especially vibrant in the cooler fall temperatures. Finally, some salvias, like Mexican bush sage (Salvia leucantha), bloom profusely in the fall with spikes of purple or white flowers.

Fall and Winter Annuals
While some people dislike spending the time and effort to put in annual color year after year, it is a surefire method to bring immediate life to your fall garden. What’s more, many of these flowers such as pansies and annual violas will continue to bloom throughout the winter. These small, cold-tolerant annuals provide a burst of color with their bright blooms. Finally, ornamental varieties of cabbage and kale have colorful and textured leaves that intensify in color as the temperatures drop. They make unique additions to fall flower beds.

Autumn blooms.Other Fall Plants
Late season blooms are not the only way to bring interest to your fall garden. Japanese maples turn glorious colors as their autumn leaves drop. Russian sage’s silver-gray foliage and blue-purple flower spikes provide late-season interest and are drought-tolerant once established. Stonecrop sedums like ‘Autumn Joy’ offer succulent leaves and late-season blooms that change color from pink to russet as the season progresses. Hardy Cyclamen is a perennial plant that has uniquely shaped, colorful flowers that bloom in the fall and early winter, often alongside their marbled foliage.

When planting these cool-weather-loving ornamental plants, ensure they have well-drained soil, and regular watering to establish strong root systems and vibrant growth. Additionally, consider incorporating mulch to help maintain soil moisture and protect against temperature fluctuations. With these choices, your North Texas garden can continue to thrive and provide visual interest well into the fall season.

Need help with your irrigation or sprinkler system? Does your garden need an overhaul or just a general checkup? Give us a call at 817-202-4808, or drop us a line and contact us here, to find out how Desiree can help you create a wonderful garden with a budget you can afford.

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Prepping for Your Fall Garden

Finally, there is a hint of cooler weather, and the return of the fall rains is nearly upon us. This means your garden is ready to explode back to life, and we can’t wait to see all that beautiful fall garden color!

Late summer blooms.Irrigation
This summer’s heat and lack of rain have seriously tested most irrigation systems. Some of you may have gardens and lawns that look like they have been blasted by the summer heat. If there are areas of your sprinkler system that are broken, or where perhaps it simply didn’t get enough water in the right places, it should be patently obvious now. Take the time to address any problems with your irrigation now so that your plants will have a fighting chance to recover in time for winter.

Fall Plantings
Towards the end of the month, start planning and purchasing fall bulbs like tulips, daffodils, and hyacinths for planting later in the fall. Add compost or organic matter to your garden beds to enrich the soil and improve its structure. This can be done before planting your fall garden. Don’t forget to deadhead summer blooms that are coming to an end so that plants kept for their flowers do not pour extra energy into creating seeds. Many varieties will continue to produce bloom after beautiful bloom in this manner, including your fall-flowering plants just about to come into season. If vegetables and other crops are your thing, it’s not too late to start your cool-season crops. Decorative crops such as kale, cabbage, mustard greens, and Swiss chard can also find spots among your fall-flowering plants.

Container Plants
Refresh the soil in your containers with new potting soil. Any potted plants that do not need new soil should at a minimum be treated with an appropriate fertilizer, such as a water-soluble (liquid) fertilizer bedding formula (10-10-10) for flowering plants and a blend with a bit more potassium (the middle number) like a 10-15-10 blend. Consider replanting them with cool-season flowers or ornamental cabbage and kale for fall color. Any pure tropical plants should start to get a little extra attention: these varieties, such as bougainvillea, cannot tolerate nighttime temperatures below around 45°F. If we get a welcome cold snap, these tropicals will need to be moved inside.

Late summer blooms.Lawn Care and Feeding
While we don’t focus on lawns here at Desiree Gardens, we certainly can help you grow lush, thick grass in your yard. For our area of North Texas, all-nitrogen (21-0-0) in slow-release form should be applied in early to mid-September. To control cool-season weeds, you can apply a pre-emergent this month and a second round of pre-emergent 90 days later. You’ll want to repeat this process for spring weeds. For other weeds, a broadleaf weed killer is your choice. Any local nursery can help you find one; just make sure to follow the directions. We recommend any brands that have at least 1% of 2,4-D in the formulation. What we never recommend is a combination weed-and-feed. Just be careful with the application and use broadleaf weed killers on a day with no wind so that it won’t drift from your lawn to your garden beds where it can damage them.

No matter what time of year, there is always something to do in a North Texas garden. Don’t forget to refresh mulch on a regular basis, and add some compost or fertilizer from time to time. Fall doesn’t mean that your garden is done. Gardens in our area remain very active even up through December, and then we can start moving onto our winter color and activities. That means it’s a great time to start the planning process for any hardscapes or other projects you want to put in while many plants are dormant.

Need help with your irrigation or sprinkler system? Does your garden need an overhaul or just a general checkup? Give us a call at 877-558-1496, or drop us a line and contact us here, to find out how Desiree can help you create a wonderful garden with a budget you can afford.

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