Where better to turn for landscaping tips and ideas than local business owner and landscape professional John Gualtiere, Owner of Hudson Landscape Contractors & Tree Care Specialists and Pound Ridge Nursery? We asked John for ideas and solutions to some of the most common problems we encounter in transforming over-grown and weed-covered plots into beautifully landscaped gardens. He had a lot to offer, so we selected the following tips for fall, and we’ll run another helpful Q & A in the November issue.
Q: What’s your favorite season and why?
A: That’s tough because I really enjoy all the seasons for what they offer. It’s part of the job when you work in the great outdoors. But if I had to pick my favorite, it will always be the fall because of the vibrant colors and the crisp autumn temperatures.
Q: What do you recommend for easy fall decorating?
A: You can always put together showy containers filled with fall annuals and perennials for front entrance ways with colorful over-sized pots. Your attention is easily drawn to the vivid colors. Our nursery gets a large assortment of unique pumpkins and gourds and hay bales to add to your space. You’re only really limited by imagination. Our talented staff is always on hand to help with any questions or design concepts. Fall is a fun for families at our nursery. Especially during our Annual Family Harvest Weekend on Sept. 28th & 29th! We’re hosting horse-drawn hayrides, scarecrow making, and pumpkin painting.
Q: What about dealing with lawn maintenance and weeding?
A: We’re a full-service landscape maintenance company and can do all of it for the homeowner year-round, but my general tip for weeds in the gardens is adding an evergreen perennial groundcover and using mulch liberally. It saves a lot of time on weeding and gives a uniform color under established plantings and large unplanted gaps in the landscape. There are the popular classics like Pachysandra, Vinca Minor, and Ajuga. Customers have an amazing selection of sedums to choose from that range from yellows to dark greens. For shade, our nursery carry Irish and Scottish mosses. It’s all about preference.
As for the lawn, I recommend cutting the grass as needed to a height of approximately 3 inches, performing core aeration and over–seeding and applying a bio-organic fertilizer to all turf areas.
Q: What are some ‘must do’ fall tasks related to the garden?
A: Welcoming autumn and extending the outdoor season until winter weather sets includes chores like cutting back perennials, raking leaves, and planting spring-blooming bulbs like daffodils, tulips, allium, and iris. It should also include other important tasks like installing burlap or deer fencing, gutter cleaning, winterizing irrigation systems and doing the often overlooked – empty the terra-cotta and ceramic containers and store them in a shielded protected place. Also, emptying natural fiber pots helps protect them from large cracks created by the extreme temperature shifts that cause expansion and contraction.
Q: What’s your #1 suggestion to keep in mind when you’re planning a garden that lasts through fall?
A: You want to enjoy and live in your outdoor property too, so leave a spot to relax and enjoy what you created. Appealing to several senses is something I always recommend. My trio is sight, smell, and sound. With some thought, you can enjoy a pollinator-friendly landscape design that blooms from April through October. That includes trees, shrubs and perennial choices like early-blooming Amelanchier, Dicentra, and Pulmonaria to late bloomers like Agastache, Caryopteris, and one of my favorites Nipponanthemum, the Montauk Daisy. If you have room for a pair of Ilex too, you’ll get berries in the winter to enjoy and it supports wildlife in winter. And that’s just plants. Talk to us about creating an outdoor bluestone patio with a fire pit and extend your outdoor season into winter!