Autumn 2009

Posted November 17th, 2009 by Chris V.

As you may have noticed, the CCAC children’s garden has been closed for the season. This entails cutting back dormant perennials, digging in (temporarily planting) perennial vines that are earmarked for the upcoming vine garden,and tying back the ornamental grasses to maintain some height in the garden for ‘winter interest’. The fountain has been drained and stored in order to prevent damage from the upcoming freezing temps.

Impressively, besides for a frost in October, there has not been many subsequent frosty evenings. The typical frost date for Chicago is October 15 and, fittingly, this year’s frost came around October 14. It was not a hard killing frost, but rather, the first time the temps hit a low of 32 deg F or below. I don’t think that the frost hit the CCAC due to its proximity to the lake.

So if you have not done so, bring in those container plants that you want to overwinter indoors. Pepper plants are perennial in hotter climates so if yours have not been caught by a frost, you can still dig them up and bring them in for the winter for replanting outside next spring. Also, it is not too late to plant spring blooming bulbs. In our children’s garden, kids really enjoy the large blooms of some alliums.

One more note, a garden task that is still upcoming is mulching. Heavy winter mulching should not be done until the ground freezes which is usually sometime in later December. Mulching helps keep the ground temperature stable and protects soil from the cycle of mid to late winter freezing and thaws which can damage root systems. It also preserves moisture which is still necessary even if plants are dormant. Mulching also protects plants from the cold blasts of late winter. I’ve been bringing mulch into the children’s garden but it is a tough job that is slow going. It will be done in time for winter.

Enjoy the beauty that is autumn!

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