Winter’s coming…..but first prep your garden for fall

September 16, 2014
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Are you ready for fall?  While we enjoy native, blooming plants right now like light and airy Hyssop Leaved Boneset (Eupatorium hyssopifolium) , bright yellow Sneezeweed (Helenium autumnale), and the purples of the Asters (Symphotrichum spp.) , there’s work to be done.


Prepare Your Garden for Fall

  • Before the weather changes, rake up dead leaves and do general clean up.
  • Remove diseased leaves or those with mildew and compost them. You can use your mower to chop up leaves and put them in your compost pile.
  • Use the garden cleanup time to evaluate your garden and make plans for next spring.
  • If you are at all concerned about the monarch butterfly, fall is a great time to plant milkweed for next year’s visitors!
  • Fall is a wonderful time to shop for new plants with many nurseries are having their fall sales. So do a little fall clean up and spring planning now and get some great deals on plants! Several local sales are listed below.


Butterfly Milkweed

Butterly Milkweed


What About the Approaching Winter Months?

Leave your perennials and grasses uncut throughout the winter. Not only do the different colors and shapes provide beauty in the landscape, but they also provide cover for wildlife. In winter, wildlife needs cover from the wind and cold. Different types of wildlife will find food and cover at varying heights.

Think about adding trees and shrubs such as Spicebush (Lindera bezoin) which produces fruit in late summer and early fall and is an important food source for fall migrants. All grasses and perennials should be cut back to just above the ground by the end of February.

To find suggestions of which plants do best in rain gardens or the best native plants for different  conditions, visit www. RainScapes techniques can help you soak up more water on your property.


Itea and Aster plants

Itea and Aster


Fall Native Plant Sales

Northern Alexandria Fall Native Plant Sale;

Saturday, September 27; 9:00 am-2:00 pm;

NEW location at The Church of St. Clement, 1701 N. Quaker Lane, Alexandria, VA 22302 (Corner of Quaker Lane and Oakcrest Drive) (Formerly located at 3601 Valley Drive)

This is the largest native plant sale in the DC Metro area! It features native perennials, shrubs, and trees from about 16 nurseries gathering from Virginia, Maryland, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania!

Tree Giveaway at the Herring Run Nursery;

Saturday, September 20, 27 and October 5th AM – 3:00 PM; Herring Run Nursery 6131 Hillen Rd Baltimore, MD; choose one of six native species:

American hornbeam, hackberry, eastern redbud, black gum, swamp white oak, or willow oak.

Earth Sangha Nursery’s Fall Open House and Plant Sale;

Sunday, September 28th pm; For directions click;

At the Nursery, end of Cloud Drive, Springfield, VA 22150; Earth Sangha’s Wild Plant Nursery provides the most comprehensive selection of local native plants for ecological restoration in the Washington, DC, region.

By Carla Ellern, RainScapes Planner, Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection


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