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News & Notes

Fall is finally here!

It’s hard to believe fall is here with the crazy temperatures we have been having lately. The great news is the high temperatures keep our gardens looking colorful for longer.

Wendy Story of Story Garden & Rooftop Design is back to help you make your garden smile from the roots up! This is the third of our seasonal garden blogs from Wendy, who has given us some great ideas for extending the use of our garden/outdoor space into the fall, with regular maintenance tips, options for leaf peeping and how to get creative now for the holiday season ahead.

“Fall is my favorite time of the year”, says Wendy, “as all the leaves start to turn to luminous gold and bronze.”

Here are Wendy’s fall steps to creating beautiful outdoor features…….

Step 1. Maintenance
Never a season goes by without this step!

Clear up the leaves! Piles of brown leaves start drifting around, making surfaces slippery and grubby

Prune! This keeps plants looking their best and prevents them from outgrowing their space. Use sharp pruners to easily trim stems down to the ground. Trees and shrubs that lose their leaves can be trimmed back in the winter once all leaves have dropped and they have stopped growing. Don’t trim evergreen shrubs such as holly and box until the spring.

Bulbs can be planted now for spring. Plant bulbs in groups of 3 or 5 to avoid them looking sparse when they bloom. Make a hole in the soil that is about half the depth of your trowel, pop each bulb in pointed end up. Bulbs to plant now are daffodils, tulips, alliums, fritillaria, muscari and hyacinths.

Top Tip- Problems with squirrels?? Bury your bulbs as deeply as you can now and in the short term cover them with gravel or small stones until January. That way the squirrels cannot easily find them!


Step 2. Fall Planting
“There are some great plant latecomers to keep the color alive in your garden into early fall,” says Wendy.

Sedum, anemones and foliage plants will keep borders and containers looking bountiful until the frosts. Heucheras make excellent border edging plants, the decorative leaves of ‘Plum Pudding’ offer glimpses of a reddish-purple underside. Straight stemmed sedum ‘Matrona’ has purple stems, with starry pink flowers from August to the frosts. Silver foliage plants such as santolina, salvia and artemisia provide an excellent foil for pink Japanese anemones and sedums. Plants bearing berries, hips and fruit are a surefire way to create an autumnal focal point in the garden. Evergreen Cotoneaster lacteus can be grown as an eye catching hedge and the berries last until after Christmas and dogwood is a winter favorite with the thick bright red stems from Cornus alba ‘Sibirica’.

“There is also still time to create or update your plant containers/pots for a full fall display,” says Wendy. Here are some combinations she has used for her clients over the last few weeks:


Step 3. Using your outdoor areas

“With the amazing warm bursts of weather we are getting, make the most of sitting outside whilst you still can,” says Wendy. Add a touch of warmth to your patio/balcony/deck or garden with some simple accessories.

Take the chill out of alfresco evening gatherings with a stainless steel infrared electric tabletop heater. Restoration Hardware stock good adjustable infrared heaters.

Twig Lights

A pre-lit twig tree in a container/pot is a simple way to light up a patio or balcony and add a touch of fall interest. Terrain stock simple twig lights for outdoor use. Use 2 or 3 sets together in a glass vase on your patio or add them to existing containers to add interest and light.

Add some fall color with orange, gold and red soft furnishings. A simple inexpensive outdoor rug/runner can instantly add a feeling of warmth and enclosure.

Finally, if you cannot escape the city to see the beautiful fall foliage then there are still some great options in the city. At the New York Botanical Garden explore the Thain Family Forest, the largest remaining tract of old-growth forest in New York City. Alternatively go to Brooklyn Botanical Gardens, another perfect place for leaf peeping and fall tours.

Wendy is busy planning and creating for the Holiday season. Come back soon to get all her tips for how to get your indoor and outdoor space looking great!
“If you are feeling creative and have some time then look up the New York Botanical Gardens amazing amateur programs in December. I highly recommend the Holiday Greens Workshop or the Winter Wonderland Wreath program, both great fun and full of inspiration for the holiday season!”

Wendy Story of Story Garden & Rooftop Design

storygardendesigns@gmail.com #containergardens #beautifulbrooklyn #fallgardens #storygardenandrooftopdesign #holidayfloraldecorations

This is the third of our quarterly city gardening features from Wendy, come back soon to see our special holiday feature.


**This article written by Katriona Kearney and Debi Pine.

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