Don't forget about hidden nooks, such as this spot with a mossy garden gnome. For choosing materials, medium-textured mulch is best because fine particles will pack down and retain moisture, which evaporates before reaching plant roots, according to The Morton Arboretum in Illinois.
Fall is the best time to add maintenance to your garden beds with activities such as mulching, says Cameron Watkins of C. Watkins Garden Co. Mulching helps insulate delicate root systems from extreme cold temperatures and dry winter air.
Mulching can be a big task in the fall, if you have multiple garden beds. Here's a tip from The Morton Arboretum in Illinois: Organic mulch should be composted or otherwise treated before use. The step kills insects, weed seeds and disease microorganisms. The texture of composted mulch generally is more uniform, creating better curb appeal.
The fire engine red double front doors of this classic home provide a sophisticated contrast to its white and black exterior. Ornamental shrubbery and grasses grow in front of the home in mulched garden beds.
An outstanding mulch that’s free for the taking, shredded fall leaves provide a great alternative for informal planting beds, vegetable gardens and shade gardens. As leaves decompose, they add fantastic organic matter to soil. Slugs tend to like shredded leaves, so use caution applying them around slug favorites like hosta or leaf lettuce. Expect leaves to last from one to two growing seasons. Always shred leaves with a mower or leaf vac before using them as mulch.
Concrete stepping stones laid in a rock bed create a simple and textural walkway up the side of the home and yard. Mulched garden sections add natural decorations and levels of plant life beside the crisp, cut uniform yard. An outdoor living room is situated on the patio complete with stone fireplace and chimney.
A winter mulch can be a gardener’s best friend, especially around new additions to the landscape. That extra mulch layer can help prevent frost heave around new plants that may not have an extensive root system to help keep them anchored in soil as it freezes and thaws. Put a 2-inch-thick layer around the base of plants to insulate roots and
Fall’s classic bloomer is the garden mum. These colorful beauties paint the autumn landscape in nearly any shade imaginable, from pastel tints to bold hues. Garden mums grow best in full sun with well-drained soil and work well in containers or beds. To enjoy the longest show, choose mums with flower buds that are just beginning to crack open. To overwinter plants as perennials in colder zones, get mums into the ground as early as possible in fall. Mulch well after the ground freezes. Plants grow 1 to 3 feet tall and wide. Hardy in Zones 5-9.
A favorite among dieters, stevia is super easy to grow as an annual in Zones 7 and cooler. Give it full sun in northern gardens; provide protection from hot afternoon sun in warmest zones. Pinch plants early in the season several times to encourage branching. Pick the super sweet leaves of this herb for drying or fresh use. For best results, dry in a dehydrator or a 150-degree oven. To use, crush dry leaves as needed. In Zones 8 and warmer, plants may overwinter with mulch.
Living christmas trees can be planted outdoors after the holidays. For best results, keep the tree inside for the shortest time possible. If you live where the ground freezes, go ahead and dig a hole for it in your garden or landscape, and cover the hole with boards for safety, until you’re ready to plant. First move the tree into a sheltered location a week or so, to help ease the transition from your home. Then, after you plant it, keep it well mulched and watered, especially for the first year or two. This variety is 'Fat Albert', a Colorado Blue Spruce.
Velvety red flowers with yellow centers give ‘Rebecca’ clematis star power in the garden. Vines grow to a modest height (6 to 8 feet), which makes this clematis a good choice for a trellis, fence row or winding through shrub roses. Flower color shifts more toward purple on plants tucked into shade. To coax the reddest hue, make sure vines receive some sun during the day. Blooms measure 6 to 7 inches across and appear all summer long. Like all clematis, ‘Rebecca’ grows best when roots are shaded and kept cool. Do this by planting it behind a shrub or using a thick mulch layer. Vines grow 6 to 8 feet tall by 4 feet wide. Hardy in Zones 4 to 10.