A Note From Rick | Still a lot to do in the October garden

October 13, 2021
Bridge Gardens

As autumn begins, gardens begin to wane as plants respond to cooler temperatures and fading sunlight. Plants go to seed, some plants and leaves start to decay, while others show the first tints of the glorious colors of fall, like the Virginia sweetspire pictured above.

There’s still a lot to do in our gardens. While anticipating harvests of head lettuce, fennel, radicchio and cabbage soon to come, we’ve been pulling tomato plants from the vegetable gardens here as part of general clean-up and to make room for the last sowings of spinach, arugula, cilantro and radish.


Fennel is nearly ready for harvest for the food pantry.

Early October is last call for lawn projects. Before night time temperatures drop below fifty degrees, sow grass seed for new lawns and lawn renovations. Not sure how to get started with a lawn renovation? Reach out to Paul Wagner of Greener Pastures Organics, who has been at Bridge Gardens every Tuesday this year and for years past, offering free lawn and landscape advice. While his “Free Advice Tuesdays” are finished for 2021, you can still contact him through his website or through his email. Paul can help with lawn renovations before cold weather arrives.

This fall, we are spending less time on maintenance of the garden and more on planting new trees, shrubs and perennial wildflowers which have been waiting in our nursery all summer. Fall is a great time for planting and transplanting. We’ve been taking advantage of good weather and tackling a number of projects, including finishing the parking lot island. Thanks to a generous donor, we’ll soon be adding inkberries to the other native trees, shrubs and grasses getting established there now. We’re also extending similar plantings on the woodland side of the driveway and around the maintenance shed.


The parking lot island is flush with goldenrod and bayberry, a sunny counterpart to sculptor Alex Barrett's Fiddle.

We also planted the bed around the weeping Japanese maple near the Inner Garden entrance. Beach grass (Panicum amarum ‘Dewey’s Blue’, featured last month), narrowleaf ironweed, showy goldenrod and mountain mint, all pollinator friendly natives, will be joining the Appalachian sedge, purple love grass and goldenstar already planted there.


New plants have gone in the ground in the Japanese maple bed this month.

Other native and near-native plantings we’re excited about this fall are shadbush, hackberries and tulip trees.

I hope you’ll visit the gardens to enjoy the changing seasons and see all the new plantings. Stop in regularly to watch them grow in the rich soil at Bridge Gardens. From changing colors to changing textures, the early autumn garden has much to offer. See you soon!

~~ Rick


New hackberries planted this week

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