A garden suggests there might be a place where we can meet nature halfway. Michael Pollen

Guest post by Cynthia Jackson

This fall season has given us the glorious beauty we prize living in the Midwest.  We have enjoyed extra weeks of warm weather.  A longer than average color palette of red, orange and yellow leaves which danced on the trees for many days, now which may seem like months ago. Many of you may be tired of gardening at this point, but I would encourage you to use this season to devote time and attention to your garden.  In the days ahead, appreciate your bounty, study your garden’s strengths and limitations, and indeed plan for its future. The upcoming months will reveal the framework of your garden.  As the leaves and flowers continue to fade away, strong lines and patterns stand out.  Some are man-made and others are gifts from mother Nature.  Watch and learn from your garden’s form and plants.  A garden needs continual editing.  Using the basic principles of landscape design; linemost important and useful design elemt, everything in your garden involves line; form-which is your garden’s volume and mass; texture-reffering to the surface quality; and finally color-which in your gardens is both for plants and hardscape, planning and facilitating these principles will reflect the beauty of your garden in all seasons.  

Fall Prep Tips

  1. “Clean up plant debris in harvested and floral beds.  Do leave some stalks standing in your flower gardens, especially local native plants and those with seeds and berries.  They will attract birds, adding wildlife and color to your winter landscape.
  2. Work into the soil a generous amount of compost and some organic fertilizer.
  3. If you have planted bulbs for spring blooms, a light layer of mulch after the ground freezes and the plants are dormant, is suggested.
  4. Plan for winter containers; an urn, a wheelbarrow, or a bird bath planted with evergreens or conifers and capped with snow is beautiful.

Winters are long and cold, so while most of your gardens’ plants lay asleep, take this time to reflect.  I hope you will look at the beauty of your winter garden more closely, see what is hidden as you celebrate the changing seasons.