September 2011 Cuttings

Cuttings is your source for garden updates and horticultural tips from the Reeves-Reed Arboretum’s gardening staff.  Check back monthly to find out what’s blooming at the Arboretum, get the inside scoop on upcoming events, and learn some timely tips you can put to use in your own garden. 

Autumn is finally here, bringing with it the promise of cool nights, colorful fall foliage, and a satisfying conclusion to the gardening season.  Here at Reeves-Reed Arboretum though, we’re not getting out the leaf rakes quite yet – there’s still plenty going on in the gardens, and some news to report to you as well!


In the Gardens

When you visit the Arboretum this month, be sure to stop by the Perennial Border, which is in the midst of a wonderful fall display.  Two varieties of hybrid fall anemone (Anemone ´ hybrida) are in glorious full bloom.  “Honorine Jobert” is a prolific and carefree white-flowered anemone, and has been a mainstay of autumn gardens since its introduction in the mid-1800s.  “September Charm,” a pink-flowered cultivar, blooms beside it and is also sure to enchant.  The white spherical flower heads of garlic chives (Allium tuberosum) toward the front of the border add a cheery touch, and are flanked by masses of pink-blooming hardy begonia (Begonia grandis ssp. evansiana).

When you visit Reeves-Reed Arboretum this month, one thing you’re certain NOT to see is very much evidence of Hurricane Irene and the other strong storms that swept through the area recently.  Lead Horticulturist Julieanne Frascinella and volunteers have done an incredible job of clearing up after the storms.  Their hard work and dedication have been very much in evidence lately, as first the hurricane and then a series of storms dumped near-record rainfall in our area of the state, bringing down trees and branches, shredding foliage, and causing serious flooding.  Fortunately, the Arboretum escaped severe damage, though low-lying areas of the woodlands are still submerged and the vernal pool in the western portion of the woodlands, usually dry at this time of year, has become an autumnal pool!

Finally, I am very excited about joining the staff of Reeves-Reed Arboretum as the Manager of Horticulture.  I look forward to seeing you on the grounds.  I will definitely be at the Gardeners’ Gathering on October 15thand hope to meet many of our members and supporters then!


Garden Tips for September

Suffice it to say that the recent storms have created enough work to last many home gardeners throughout the fall.  With crisis, however, comes opportunity – all of those fallen tree limbs can be put through a chipper-shredder, yielding wood chips just perfect for freshening up a garden path.  Shredded green leaves constitute an excellent nitrogen source for the compost pile, and break down surprisingly quickly as well.

In most places, soils are still saturated with rainwater, meaning that there’s little to no need for supplemental irrigation.  In other words, it’s safe to turn off those sprinklers!  Cooler temperatures, both during the day and overnight, are also contributing to the slow rate of evaporation, meaning that if you DO find yourself having to water the garden, you’ll be able to wait several more days between irrigation sessions, thereby saving yourself some money and helping to conserve water resources.

September usually marks the beginning of the fall planting season, but again, recent rainfall has thrown a wrench into the works.  Planting in waterlogged soil is not only a hassle for the gardener, but can actually lead to soil compaction in the garden. For new specimens planted in such conditions, root rot is also a serious hazard.  For these reasons, we recommend waiting to plant until excessive water has drained through the soil.  The fall planting season extends through November, so remember, you have plenty of time!

A great way to hone your gardening skills is through our volunteer program, so consider devoting a few hours a month to the Arboretum.


Shari Edelson, Manager of Horticulture