Not Put Your Garden to Bed Yet!  

By Kathy Figel 

Are we putting the garden to bed? Nope, not quite yet. 

Sometimes in the fall, flowers’ colors are their most radiant. If you continue to “deadhead,” the flowers in your garden will deliver in all their glory.  

In addition, our Monarch butterflies still need the pollinators as they get ready for  their big trip to Mexico. I suggest keeping your clippers within reach when you’re out for an evening visit to your garden.  A child’s scissors — or anything comparable —  can be used to clip away dead flowers, leaves or even small braches or stems to the main stem of the plant .  

In the case of hydrangeas, this is a great time to start to trim them up. Many neighbors complain that their hydrangeas don’t grow.  In most cases it’s because they have been cut back in the spring.  At that point hydrangeas have already set their buds and you have cut them off prematurely.  So, clip some of those blooming beauties and bring them in your house, pop them into your pots for the fall to boost your annuals, or bring them in a mason jar to someone who needs cheering up. 

If you’re growing tomatoes (and who isn’t), a wise friend of mine, farmer Greene, taught me to really trim them up as well, while attempting to not to let any branches or stems hang on the ground. They will produce for another month at least.  

Too many tomatoes got you overwhelmed? There are many pantries that collect food in our neighborhood. Farmer Jim’s wife, Pam, recommends freezing tomatoes, onions, basil garlic, as well as just about any ugly veggies all together in a large gallon container. On some frigid Sunday afternoon this winter, place all of them in a large roaster with a bit of olive oil. Cook on high — 400-450 degrees — for a couple of hours.  The aroma that fills your home can’t be described. You will have a delicious paste to use on pizza, pasta or anything you desire.  

Trees, especially a canopy of healthy trees, can impact the late bloomers in your garden.  Leave the leaves in your yard this year around the trees and plantings. It’s free mulch, a way to keep out weeds, and great for all of us.  

What has always distinguished our community’s tree-lined streets is the unique tree canopy effect vibrant almost until Thanksgiving when college kids come home and parents hand them a rake.  

Many of us as recall as kids being able to play ball in the street protected from a light rain or drizzle, never getting wet under the tall branches.  Purchasing a home in this community requires you to honor the historically well-maintained trees here because of others before you.  

BAPA’s Save the Trees committee has set up working subcommittees devoted to education and support of our trees.  One of the areas we are especially concerned with is The Ridge running from 119th to 99th  Streets, but especially south of 111th  Street. Many homeowners have been clear-cutting their yards and may not realize the damage they are doing to the natural habitat of hundreds of animals and insects not to mention the health of The Ridge itself. The tree roots help to support and stabilize The Ridge.  

We are looking for more neighbors to get involved in tree planting and educating each other. Be on the lookout for more information on our trees. It’s a battle we cannot afford to lose.  

In the meantime, please consider planting a tree in your yard, or supporting a sapling that is growing already.  

Feel free to connecting with me if you have more questions. If I don’t have the answer, I can always ask my gardening friends. Kathy Figel @ednawhite community garden or 


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