Fall is here and we are off to a great start of precipitation for the season from the October storm that seemed like it was never going to end.  Now that the ground has had a chance to soak up all the rain, it’s a great opportunity to fall into November in preparing the garden for winter. 

 Raking the leaves off of the lawn will help keep the turf healthy and green going into winter.  Cleaning up the leaves and debris from beds will help get a jump start to making the garden look tidy.  Ensure gutters and downspouts are clear so when the next storm rolls through you will be prepared.  It’s never fun trying to clean out gutters in a torrential downpour.

At this time of the year irrigation is no longer needed since Mother Nature is helping us for the next few seasons.  If you haven’t properly winterized your irrigation system you should take the time to do so.  Shutting down the back-flow device and draining excess water from the system is very important before freezing temperatures arrive.  This will ensure water is not in the lines that could possibly freeze and expand causing damage to the sprinkler system. 

Detach hoses from hose bibs is just as important.  If these are left attached during freezing temperatures, they may cause damage to the plumbing inside the wall.  Properly storing garden hoses inside a garage or shed to protect them from the winter elements will help with their longevity.

November is the perfect month to get fall bulbs planted.  There are so many wonderful bulbs that can be added to bring color to the garden in spring as well as the summer months.  If you are contemplating adding bulbs you can take the opportunity in selecting ones that bloom at various times.  This will create a progression throughout the months so something is always emerging and blooming.  By selecting particular types based on their bloom time can provide color early to late spring into early to mid summer. 

Crocus seem to be the first bulb that emerges with bright petals that greet spring with open blooms.  Daffodils are the art and soul of spring blooming April to May.  Single or double early tulips will bloom mid April and can be followed by single late varieties that will bloom in May.  Alliums will put on a beautiful show May to June. 

Asiatic lilies offer large stunning flowers June through July and may be followed by Oriental lilies that will bloom in July through August.  This selection of bulbs would offer a variety of color and texture that would be continuous in the garden.

Forcing bulbs inside your home is a wonderful way to have color for the holidays or gifts for loved ones.  There are lovely varieties of amaryllis that have become my favorite bulb for forcing indoors.  Amaryllis cocktail is very festive, primarily red with white sunburst in the center with green stamens. 

Indoor narcissi, know as paperwhites offer a multitude of small fragrant white blooms to the indoors.  Hyacinthus can also be easily forced adding sweet perfume to the household when in bloom.

If you are desiring to add fall annuals to containers or border beds think about incorporating some violas in place of pansies.  These annuals seem to thrive and hold their blooms better than pansies if we have a lot of rain.  Violas come in a range of colors to choose from.

Falling into November means letting go of summer.  Don’t let winter hibernation sink in or you will miss out on the unique beauty fall has to offer.