I took an objective look at my front yard this week and determined it was sadly lacking in fall color. My four yellow mums in pots flanking the doorway just didn’t bring me quite enough joy. (Yes, I admit it – I have been doing a Marie Kondo purge) What I really want are huge bursts of riotous color and texture before a long Midwestern winter with its ice, snow and freezing temperatures sets in.
Fall has officially arrived. Around here, that means getting my garden ready for a long winter’s nap. Of course there are all of the typical fall chores – removing dying annuals, planting spring bulbs, cleaning out iris and daylily beds, draining hoses, putting tools away – but this year there’s going to be a new task on the fall list. From now on, I’m going to be adding mulching to my fall chores.
I’ve been sitting at my desk this morning, supposedly writing this week’s blog about mulch. What I have really been doing however, is staring out the window watching the hummingbirds battle at the feeders. There are only two consistently here this week, which is sad. Normally, from early September through mid October, there are six or eight of the little bullies determined to dominate the feeders. It seems that things in the hummingbird world have changed.
After last week's blog, a very good question came up. A client asked, "If I decide to become a native plant purist and avoid mums, then what should I plant instead?
I popped into our local big box store yesterday to pick up a few bags of rock I needed to finish one of my backyard pathways. As I pulled into the parking lot, a huge sign greeted me, reminding me that planting fall blooming flowers helps keep our native pollinators fed. Since my garden is severely lacking in masses of blooms to feed my winged visitors right now, I decided to see what they had to offer.
At first glance, I was thrilled; the garden center was absolutely bursting with blooms — dozens of colors and shapes and varieties —of chrysanthemums. Benches and benches full of them – and very few other nectar rich choices for the mum-reluctant gardener.