Fall is the best time of year for planting trees, shrubs and many perennials – including all those fabulous bulbs and tubers. Mother Nature will keep them watered and comfortable for several months, giving them lots of time to get established. Temperatures are cool and the ground is usually soft from autumn rain. Everything needs to get in the ground before the first frost date, when the ground will harden., which in Portland is around November 15th.
Plant nurseries often have great deals at this time of year on perennials that are past their showy season. A couple years I ago I loaded up on lavender, black-eyed Susan and echinacea at a great price because their flowers were over. But sure enough, they put on a stunning show the following spring, summer and fall. Your biggest challenge will be finding enough plants, as nurseries may have sold out of certain plants during the peak of the season and held off on reordering until next year.
I have orders in with nurseries for a few different residential projects. I’m excited to share pictures from those projects with the construction wraps up. All of those sites are currently muddy messes! It’s an exciting time for garden transformations.
If you already have plants in the ground, think about cutting and dividing your favorite perennials. Bulbs and tubers, like irises and tulips, are super easy to divide and replant. I look for crowded areas, then dig up the whole mass. Gently tease the bulbs apart from each other.
Tubers, like irises, maybe need to be cut apart with sharp snippers. Try to cut apart chunks that still have some healthy roots attached to give them the greatest chance of success.
Replant bulbs and tubers in groups in odd-numbered groups, like three or five. I usually plant tiny bulbs like crocuses in groupings of seven or nine. They make a bigger impact when several come up together in early spring.
Do you have some exciting new plants going into the garden this fall? Are you looking for last minute recommendations? Is there already snow on the ground where you live? Tell me about in the comments below!