Advice for Transitioning Your Garden to Fall and Winter

Kelley and Kelley Nursery in Long Lake has been a local institution for 95 years. Steve Kelley is the fourth generation of his family to work the grounds, running the company that features a garden center as well as a landscaping component.

Steve Kelley shares his top tips for transitioning your garden into fall:

1. Take advantage of cool days to remove underperforming perennials from your garden and replace them with exciting new additions.

2. Use fall as the time to prepare your garden for spring by planting spring-flowering bulbs, such as daffodils or tulips.

3. Don’t forget to continue to water your perennials and shrubs if we experience a dry fall to help them last over the winter.

For the winter, Kelley suggests setting mulch, marsh hay or oak leaves on top of frozen ground to help protect perennials. He also notes that there are many perennials that still bloom in October. He often sees “folks throwing in the towel way before they should,” Kelley says. “Many gardeners are eager to cut down and clean up their gardens in the fall.” But at Kelley and Kelley Nursery, they enjoy leaving any perennials that could provide interest and habitat. “There’s nothing like the silhouette of an ornamental grass against freshly fallen snow,” Kelley says.

Fall isn’t a time to give up on gardening, no matter how frustrating it may be. “Gardening is a gamble and a guessing game—I guess that’s why it’s so much fun,” Kelley says.