By: Marty Kane
The native gardens at the Lake Hopatcong Foundation Environmental & Cultural Center (125 Landing Road, Landing) are starting to die back for the winter, but if you have a chance, please stop by and see the goldenrod, rudbeckia, and asters before they are gone. (Sorry, no fall phlox this year – the deer got them!)
Lake Hopatcong and the Lake Hopatcong watershed is part of the larger Delaware River watershed. The following fall gardening advice comes from our friends at the Partnership for the Delaware Estuary.
Fall may be the time of year when your garden needs the least amount of maintenance. The insects we hope our gardens attract will use the dying plant material to insulate and sustain themselves through the winter months ahead. Birds and mammals also rely on the seeds the plants are still producing to bulk up for scarcer times ahead, or perhaps even miles long migrations.
So fight the urge to clean-up if you don't have to. The wildlife will thank you!
However, there may be one exception to this rule. Hopefully during the spring and summer you noticed what plants may or may not be working in certain parts of your garden (too big, too small, not thriving, etc.). This may mean a need for redesigning some areas and moving plants around. For most perennials, fall is the best time to transplant. In order to make this easier, it might be best to trim back any stalks. But afterwards, you can bundle them up and leave them elsewhere in the garden for wildlife to use."
This is great advice, as many of us traditionally cut our gardens back before winter. The gardens at the Environmental & Cultural Center will definitely not be cut back until spring when they are ready to grow again.
Happy fall gardening!