Fall work in the garden

It’s September and I can already see many people rushing to close the garden before the cold weather arrives. Yes, it is possible, but there is time!

I will start with 3 main ideas: prune everything before winter, remove all annuals and collect all leaves .

Quite honestly, from you to me, this is just an ornamental issue, many people don’t want to see leaves or dead bushes and flowers in their garden, for professionals and large parks it’s a matter of time management and work schedule, because in spring there are a lot of tasks to do to open the garden. So, you are a private individual, your garden is beautiful and you love nature….so let it go.

The leaves fall to the ground and the plants change colors, it’s letting nature take its course, it’s autumn, it’s the season that changes! Some shrubs have their wood turning red, others have their small fruits that persist, some flowers are very beautiful once dried… it is just necessary to get used to the natural

However, there are still a few things to do in the fall to prepare your garden for winter and get it off to a great start next spring.


First of all, September is the best time to plant new perennials and grass. First of all, September is the best time to plant new perennials and grass. This will give the plants time to establish themselves, take root and be ready to thrive next spring. If you need advice on which plants to place in the right place, or to design a plan, contact our landscaping team.


Whether we like it or not, we always need to weed but I have a little trick to keep you from being overrun. When the unwanted plants have reached the cotyledon stage (2 small visible leaves), spade or weed your soil without picking up, your roots will be in the air, they will dry. Repeat with each regrowth of cotyledons and you should have less and less of them.

Keeping annuals

As long as they are in flower, they are annuals! They will wilt on their own! My geranium is happy to be the last to bloom in my window box, it would be a shame not to take advantage of it. You will remove them in the spring if they have not deteriorated or they will be part of your last garden tasks in late fall.
However, if you want to plant bulbs, this will indeed be necessary.

Removing tender bulbs

Tender or non-hardy bulbs or summer bulbs such as Gladioli, Canas, Dahlia… are those that do not survive our winters! You can dig them up carefully, cut off the leaves and the flowering stem, then let them dry in a newspaper for about ten days, then store them in a dry place in your garage or shed (be careful not to freeze).

Planting hardy bulbs

These are the first plants that grow in spring and remind us that we are getting closer to mild temperatures. Tulips, Scillas, Narcissus, Crocus, Snowdrops….. if you are used to planting them in the same place as your annuals, then you must remove your annuals. However, you have until November to plant them, enjoy your flowers, you won’t see them for at least 6 months!

Prune little but prune well

It is important to know that in autumn, plants take the time to accumulate their reserves towards the roots, evergreen trees and shrubs in their leaves and some trees, such as the Viorne or the Elder, keep their small fruits after the defoliation, it is a treat for the birds especially in winter. For these 3 reasons, I advise you not to prune now. Moreover, it allows the plants to be more vigorous after their spring pruning.
Be careful, we are talking about spring pruning before the budburst, so around mid-March, April.

Picking up the leaves

Once again, it is often for an aesthetic reason. The only place where it is very important to remove them is in the gutter of your roof to prevent it from being blocked. The dead leaves and branches are a good compost and a free winter protection. It is not for nothing that in the national parks, it is asked not to collect the vegetation. You can, however, mow the leaves that are on your lawn to prevent them from blowing away, and use whole (but dry) leaves as winter protection.
Read our article on fall leaves for more details.

Putting on winter protection

It is important to know that when you cover a shrub with a geotextile, you are not protecting it from the temperature, but rather from wind, snow and frost. The most important part to protect is the roots. A leaf cover of about fifteen centimeters, in addition to the snow, will be perfect! A blanket can be very useful in a very windy area and for zone 6 evergreen trees and shrubs such as Rhododendrons that could freeze through their leaves. Otherwise, the branches of the plants are very useful to retain the snow which is the best protection.

In the vegetable garden

You can remove the solanaceous plants (Tomatoes, Peppers…) there is not enough heat and sunlight to make them blush. Leaf and root vegetables can still be left. . Carrots are delicious after a frost, they are sweeter. You still have a few days to plant a green manure like Rye or Buckwheat, it enriches the soil, and also allows to fill an unoccupied space, it can be very useful especially in crop rotation.

Entretenez vos outils

If you want your tools to stay in good condition, clean them every time you use them, but especially for the winter. Anything with a motor should be maintained as well. Empty the gas tank and start the engine one last time until the engine goes out is useful to empty the carburetor and avoid any deposits.


En conclusion, mettez un bon chandail chaud, une tuque s’il le faut, mais gardez votre jardin ouvert, prenez le temps d’observer la nature se transformer.

Of course, if you just want to contemplate your garden and enjoy its beauty without putting your hands in the ground, the Florilège team is available for weekly maintenance of your yard, planting or closing.

Contact us via our form to receive a quote.

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