In the garden with Shobha Vanchiswar

October 5, 2012

Things to Do This Month

1. Continue patrolling for weeds. As long as there is no frost, the weeds will keep thriving.
2. Get lawns freed of thatch and reseeded.
3. Start planting bulbs for spring once weather gets properly cold but before ground freezes.
Usually end of October and early November is the ideal time.
4. Get rakes, leaf bags and such ready for tackling fall leaves. I leave some leaves for mulch but
still need to rake a good deal. Raked leaves are deposited on a compost pile in the woods.
5. Begin cutting back perennials and clean up garden beds.
6. Fall is the season to plant most perennials. Divide and replant or purchase new ones.
7. Secure climbers like roses so limbs are not damaged in winter storms. At this time, remove all
dead wood.
8. This is a good time to take inventory and see what needs to be repaired, replaced, renewed
or redone. Think plants such as shrubs and trees, paths, walls, patio furniture, trellises and
arbors. Schedule what gets done now or can wait till spring. Knowing what needs doing,
what is required, how long it takes and how much it costs goes a long way. Otherwise, it gets
overwhelming. And often, over-budget.
9. Enjoy the autumn flowers and colors. My asters are currently running riot and make me smile .
I’ve also been bringing in hydrangea for dry arrangements. A big bunch in a large, white
ironstone pitcher makes a simple and dramatic statement.

Educated as a scientist, Shobha Vanchiswar is a poet, a garden columnist and award-winning garden designer, and a prize-winning artist. Her botanical note cards are being sold at Aurora on Lower King Street, and make lovely teacher or hostess gifts. Part of the proceeds benefit Rocky Hills.  Visit her website at

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