Article by Linda Lynott ©, Master Gardener, GWA and a member of the Richmond Hill Garden & Horticultural Society.
Marion Jarvie, a passionate plantswoman who has been gardening in Thornhill for over forty years, encouraged me to plant in the late fall and early winter and she was right. In mid-November I divided and moved my perennial Geranium ‘Rosanne’. They move better in the fall than the spring, what with their deep tap roots and virtually no watering at this time of year; just watered upon planting. When I divide and move this plant in the spring, it needs daily watering, for months and it takes the whole summer to settle in.
Many plants can be moved or divided or planted right up to January. The best times to plant are between 11:00 am and 3:00 PM. Even if the soil is frozen in the morning, it is often workable by noon.
Just about any perennial can be moved and divided now; Corral Bells, Rhubarb or Clematis, for example. Note that Hostas do not do well if divided after August 1.
New trees can be purchased and planted now. Plus any left at the nursery are on sale – a definite bonus. One caution is to do no tree pruning at this time. It causes new growth that will only die because of the cold and hurts the tree’s chance of surviving. Its energy is diverted from hibernating mode to growing mode.
Tulips can be planted even in the snow and they will bloom next year, as will most other Bulbs. However, Narcissus, planted after October 31 will not bloom the following year.
Unlike the spring, the soil in the fall is still warm and full of air. The trick is to dig a hole slightly bigger than the plant, water the hole, then plant and stomp the earth down around the plant.
Enjoy your new planting season.
PS: From Patty Carlson, another member of the Richmond Hill Garden & Horticultural Society: I grow a number of Morning Glories, an annual plant that blossoms from mid-summer into fall. I don’t cut down my Morning Glory plants in the fall. Instead, in the spring, before I cut them down, I shake them well so the seeds come off and then new Morning Glories sprout again