Photo Courtesy D's Garden Center

We asked an expert for five tips on perfecting a fall garden refresh

Wearing an extra layer may be all you need to adjust to the fall weather. But when it comes to your plants, they’ll likely require a little extra love. So with a new season taking hold, we’re looking at ways to facilitate a fall garden refresh, whether that means removing weeds, prepping our plant beds, or any other kind of TLC to help our homegrown beauties thrive.

For Bryce Duffy, a landscaper at D’s Garden Center, it all starts with building healthy soil. Soil is the foundation of a blooming, healthy garden, after all, and its nutrients will eventually run out. “Making sure your soil has proper drainage and is nutrient dense is a very important part of having a successful fall garden,” Duffy says. His tip: Give your soil a good tilling before adding new fertilizer.

Then there’s the problem of pruning, for which there is always a time and place. And it isn’t during the fall. “Pruning in the fall can lead to the new growth on your shrubs, but those new growths will not have enough time to harden off before the winter, which can leave your shrubs more susceptible to frost damage,” Duffy says. “Hold off on pruning until winter.”

Not that we have to let our gardens grow old and gray simply because the temperatures are dropping oh-so-slightly. No matter the time of year, there’s no better feeling than seeing your garden in full bloom. For fall-favoring flowers, Duffy recommends mums as a “statement plant” that always turns heads, the multi-petaled brilliance of zinnias, or other popular picks like dianthus, petunias, snapdragons and pansies. For edible crops in a more practical garden, Duffy encourages his clients to choose what to grow based on what they enjoy preparing and eating. Green vegetables, for example, will usually find a welcome place at any table. “Fall is a great time for leafy greens such as lettuce, kale, chard and collards,” Duffy says.

It’s important to remember that, in the fall, prepping for winter is part of the package. “Winter is a slow time for growing,” Duffy says, “so be patient with your beds and don’t do anything too drastic to stress out your plants while they are dormant.” Instead, he encourages gardeners to start collecting blankets to prevent plants from freezing once winter begins. He also recommends getting rid of any weeds or unhealthy plants in your garden. 

To check out new plants and find more tips on gardening, follow @d_garden_center on Instagram.