The early frosts here in Southern Ontario have caught most of us by surprise and sadly we now have to clean up the mushy remains of summer’s blooms. It is also time to clean up the garden in general. There are two camps to garden cleaning, one is to cut down and tidy up everything and the other is to leave everything to die back naturally and clean up any remains in the spring. Neither is wrong, its your personal preference…with a few exceptions. All diseased plants and leaves should be cut back , gathered up and removed in the fall. Two most commonly seen diseases are powdery mildew and black spot on roses and other susceptible plants. With the heat and humidity this past summer, powdery mildew has shown up on several plants such as helianthus and roses, as shown below, and on honeysuckles.
The disease spores survive the harshest of winters to reinfect your plants next summer. The frost has also accelerated the fall of leaves after a wonderful show of colour. Leaves are a great source of plant nutrients and are free to boot! Mulch the larger leaves so they don’t mat down and smother smaller plants and grass and sprinkle them on your lawn and garden for a burst of food in the spring.
Hardy climbing rose “Quadra”
Hardy Canadian rose “Campfire”
A chill is in the air but a few more sunny days are in order so get out in your garden to enjoy any last hanger ons like these roses while putting the garden to bed and take solace in the constant cycle of seasons amongst the chaos of our human world.