Planning for cool season overhaul

peachymomo(Ca 8)September 11, 2012

I have decided that this fall and winter I need to make some serious changes in my gardens, I don't have enough time to do everything that needs to be done and the plants (and my state of mind) are suffering for it.

My number one priority is to get an irrigation system before next summer, hand watering is just too time consuming.

The second thing on my list is to streamline my gardens by culling underperformers and getting as many potted plants into the ground as possible.

Lastly, I'm going to have to come up with some sort of bribery (I'm thinking pies made out of homegrown fruit) to get my brother, cousins, and other friends and relatives to come help me spread a few truckloads of mulch.

With those tasks done I'm hopeful that next year will be both easier on me, and more attractive and productive in the gardens.

Anybody else facing the results of summer and thinking they need to make some changes? What kinds of things do you want to, need to, or feel like doing to make next year even better?

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ingrid_vc(Z10 SoCal)

Yes, I've taken a hard look at the underperformers in my garden this summer and have already eliminated some of them, with more on my list. I've also ordered 11 roses that I hope will be superior to the ones I've eliminated and will be receiving the roses during fall and next spring. Along the driveway roses have consistently died or not done well in the heat and I'll be replacing four of the roses with cedars, which need very little water. I hope that with these changes the garden will look better while needing less water, since I'll end up with fewer roses even with the 11 new ones I've ordered.


    Bookmark   September 11, 2012 at 12:06PM
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I started doing this last year, got the irrigation system in (big difference!), plant mostly natives, didn't do ANY pot plants this year, and have mulch down. It certainly makes life easier - if I could just keep up with the weeding!

    Bookmark   September 11, 2012 at 12:14PM
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Campanula UK Z8

We will be adding a pond with boardwalks through the long grasses and tall perennials. This means moving the dahlia beds (I usually leave them in the ground over winter) and digging swathes of asters and rudbeckia. I actually love these hefty projects - such a change from the endless faffing about with a daisy grubber. I have to rebuild a number of large supports so instead of the usual spare lengths of 4x4, (cheap, but rustic) we are going to make timber obelisks because many of the roses are beginning to sway and lean alarmingly. Finally, yet another attempt at blueberries - we are using Mr.Camps old plastering bath with ericaceous soil, next to the water butts with a continual drip - I consistently underestimate just how wet blueberries prefer to be - they will almost grow in standing water. I love the flowers, the fruit and the lovely autumn colours so am prepared to be persistent.
Another 500 tulips will be arriving in the next couple of weeks so I am eyeing possible spots for planting.
Oh yeah, only ordering 6 new roses.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2012 at 3:03PM
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nanadollZ7 SWIdaho(Zone 7 Boise SW Idaho)

You won't regret upgrading your irrigation system. Three seasons ago, I did, and I love it. We had a drip system already in place with emitters running to trees, shrubs, and roses. However, in our hot, dry climate (no rain since May here, and average 12 inches precip per year) the emitters couldn't deliver enough water to the roses, and delivered none to perennials and annuals. I was out every day with that evil hose, and not getting any younger either! It was an ongoing process, but we added small mini sprinklers to the existing drip system. There are three kinds we finally chose to use: the little minis, a slightly larger 360 degree sprinkler, and a few 180 degree sprinklers. All can be adjusted to deliver more or less water as needed. Now I only hand water containers and a few vegetables. All parts to the new system came from Home Depot. Now things look better and I certainly feel better.
I'm also going to be eliminating some underperforming roses. They've had years to show their stuff. Most just don't bloom enough, but some have blooms that totally bleach out in our strong sun, or shrivel almost instantly in the heat. It's very hard for me to shovel prune, but I'm determined not to cave and leave them in the ground even one more year. Diane

    Bookmark   September 11, 2012 at 3:18PM
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lou_texas(8a N Central TX)

Do any of you with irrigation systems use the MP
Rotator sprinkler heads/nozzles? If so, does it really save that much water? I like the idea of larger droplets that don't get blown about by the wind, but would like to know if they're really worth the money and worth my time to make the switch. Thanks, Lou

    Bookmark   September 11, 2012 at 4:37PM
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flaurabunda(6a, Central IL)

Most of what we need to do is outside of this year's budget. I haven't ordered any new roses yet and perhaps will only get a couple until the major things can be tackled.

We need trees removed or pruned back to provide more sunlight, otherwise it's ridiculous to order any new plants. There just isn't enough sunlight currently. I'm also in the process of replacing warped & rotting deck boards with composite, but what I'd really like to do is change the physical location and layout of the deck. That's a pipedream.

I think I may finally throw in the towel on Tropicana because I'm tired of looking at disease-ridden foliage. I'd love to move the herbs at the south edge of the deck elsewhere & plant roses in their place, but there's nowhere for them to go. In the meantime, we'll be busting up the old basketball pad and using compost to fill in the hole it leaves in the lawn, and perhaps have a new mostly shade bed in its place. Backbreaking work.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2012 at 9:18AM
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peachymomo(Ca 8)

To add to my list I just learned that Thanksgiving is going to be held at Mom's house this year, so there is some serious tidying up to do over there. Since she lets me garden at her home I feel obligated to keep it looking nice, and I don't want to be embarrassed when all of the relatives arrive.

I've decided I'll move the raspberries from the raised bed in the middle of the field over to the corner behind the compost bin. I think they'll do better with the afternoon shade from the bin and then I can plant roses in the big log bed, but that project has to wait until the paste tomatoes that are currently growing in that corner have been harvested. The first project will probably be digging the blueberries out of a different set of raised beds and transplanting to pots to be moved to my house, so that those beds can be planted with cool season veggies and flowers. That and cleaning up the patio area, replacing struggling plants with ones that will do better and clearing away the summer's potted plants which are looking a bit cooked.

For me, the harder I work to get something done the happier I am when it's over and I can admire the results. I also tell myself 'this is great exercise!' and that makes me feel better ;o)

    Bookmark   September 12, 2012 at 2:02PM
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