Chores for your Southern California Garden - October

October is a great time to plant and do chores in Southern California! The weather is moderating a little, it’s not so blazing hot in the valleys but it is still warm enough so that the plants can really settle in and they can grow, grow, grow.

Here is a list of chores for you to fill your weekends with, because this is doubtlessly the start of the best months to be outdoors.

1. Divide Your Iris - If you haven’t divided your irises in the past 2-4 years, this is a great time to do that. You can plant your new divisions (and new plant if you want) because although September is optimal – October ain’t half bad either. Check out my post How to Care for Iris – to get all the details.

2. Plant New Plants - Love the idea of a year round (or three season) garden? This is a great time to buy and plant fall and winter blooming perennials and shrubs like Sedum Brilliant, Caryopteris, Echinacea, clivia, some ceanothus, nandinas (colorful leaves and berries) and more!

3. Cool Season Vegetable Tip - You can still be sowing your cool season vegetable seeds and as the month progresses you can plant 6 packs and 4” pots of those same veggies. I’m planning on planting lot of bok choy this year, because last year mine was FANTASTIC. You can also plant broccoli, kale, and lettuces… to name a few!

4. Colorful Autumn Trees - Keep your eyes open for trees that display fall color, they are starting to show their “true colors” so if you want a specific color autumn display October and November are good times to buy and plant those deciduous trees. Since your garden is yours, you can truly create a sanctuary by picking the plants (and colors) that you love!

5. Prune Your Trees - This month is also a nice time to prune your trees, it is cooling off so if you prune now and reduce your branches and therefore leaves, you will have less to rake as they fall. (this is not Oak pruning time)

6. California Native Plants - This is an excellent time to plan your native garden, the end of the month is the start of the native planting season because the fall and winter are the best time to plant them. You grab the winter water that comes around and you don’t plan them in the hot, hot heat.

7. Cool Season Annuals - Peruse your local nursery, the cool season annuals are starting to show up, including ornamental kale (one of my favorites for containers). Annuals don’t make up a very large part of my garden style, but they sure can add punch to a garden that is maturing

8. Beautiful Blooming Bulbs - You can continue to plant winter and spring blooming bulbs. The nurseries have a nice selection right now, as do online sources. They make an excellent addition to a container as well – and if you’re memory isn’t what it used to be will become an element of surprise when they burst into bloom.

9. Plant Ground Cover – Ground cover grows quite quickly during the month of October, it is warm enough but not too hot so it is easier to regulate your water and the plants tend not to dry out too easily. Look around to see where you could use some ground cover.

10. Prune Fall Flowering Plants – shrubs, and vines can be cut back now once they have finished blooming. The pruning will encourage new growth and flowers for next year.

11. Pumpkins, pumpkins, pumpkins! – If you haven’t grown your own, it’s time to shop for unusual pumpkins, squash and gourds! They make an excellent decoration throughout the holidays. Tami & I had such fun at our event a couple weeks ago talking about decorating. If you would like a copy of our presentation, please feel free to add your name to our Harmonious Home Team event list. We’ll be happy to send you the PowerPoint version of our presentation.

12. Fertilize cacti & succulents – it is a nice time to give a shot of fertilizer to blooming and growing succulents and cacti both in pots and in the ground.

13. Notice the Shadows - Take a little time during this time of the year to notice how the shadows are changing around your landscape. Notice what is getting sun and what is getting shade, it might shed some light on why some of your plants are not thriving. You may not realize what little sun they are really getting during the winter months, and by noticing you might decide to transplant a few.

14. Houseplants could use some TLC – Your indoor plants can use a little fertilizer, a spritz of water or maybe even a few hours outdoors in the sun or dappled sun (depending on the plant) to allow it to soak up some light for chlorophyll production.

Join Tami Smight and Julie Molinare at our Complimentary Design Seminar on October 9, 2011 at the Rose Society of Santa Clarita and learn how to “Make Your Garden Sing!” If you want a reminder of our event, as well as a copy of our Power Point Presentation, “How to Create Fall Harvest Splendor” please visit Harmonious Home Team.com and sign up now!


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