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To-do List for the month of October

Order/buy spring flowering bulbs

But don’t plant them yet! The weather is cooling down and we're getting into bulb planting season. Planting bulbs in the fall is a simple way to ensure early-mid spring color.  If you do buy bulbs in early September, wait a few weeks before putting them in the ground. If the soil is still very warm, the bulbs may think it's time to grow, resulting in winter damage.  Wait until the nighttime temperatures average between 40-50 degrees.  Plant your bulbs in a prepared pattern, or randomly for a more natural effect!

Re-seed bare lawn patches and lay fresh sod - WATER!

Fall is the best time to seed a new lawn!  Most of the grass seed used in the Northeast contains cool-season grasses, so they love the cooler temperatures.  You also have plenty of time before the next summer season for your lawn to get established.  Be sure to give the seed a good base of top soil and compost, cover your new seed with straw, and WATER!!  It is better to water less frequently with a high volume of water, than to water frequently with a low volume of water.  Watering long and deep promotes strong and healthy root systems, which means a strong and healthy lawn!

 Plant hardy mums and kale

Day and nighttime temperatures are reaching more comfortable levels, which means you can start planting ornamental mums and kale!  Fall containers are always beautiful, combining the deep blue-greens and bright purples of kale, with the warmer autumnal colors of mums.  Add colorful heucheras, ornamental peppers, and violas or pansies, and get ready for the compliments to roll your way!

 Rake and compost leaf litter

The leaves are beginning to change, and it's a beautiful sight!  Not so beautiful are the piles of leaves everywhere. Don't just rake them and put them out to the curb as trash - compost them so you'll have fresh organic matter for next year, or shred them and use as homemade mulch!

 Plant perennials, trees, and shrubs

Fall is for planting!  Cooler temperatures mean less stress for newly planted trees and shrubs. Even though some spring and summer-blooming perennials may be cut back in containers, they have a full season's worth of growth in their roots, so plant away!  Just be sure to water all new plantings well.  Weather dependent, fall plantings can be watered up to, and sometimes past, the week of Thanksgiving.


How To: Drying Hydrangeas

Nearly everyone loves the colorful blooms of hydrangeas. Whether they're the bright blue 'Endless Summer' variety or the creamy white-to-blush-pink of the 'PeeGee' variety, hydrangea flowers are a bright and beautiful way to bring color to the summer and fall garden.

The beauty of hydrangea blooms can last beyond the growing season by cutting and drying the fluffy flowers and using them in arrangements year-round. Here are 2 different ways to dry hydrangea blooms!

Drying Hydrangeas Naturally

The most important factor in air drying hydrangea blooms is waiting until they are ready before cutting them from the shrub. Leave the blooms on the shrub until late summer, when they have already started to dry on the stems. Experiment with different batches from August through October. Wait until the blooms take on a "vintage" look - they will turn slightly greenish, or the color will start to fade a bit and the petals themselves will feel drier than usual; that's the time to cut! Strip the leaves off of the cut blooms and arrange in a vase, with or without water, and let them naturally finish drying. If the stems are very slender and cannot support the weight of the bloom, hang them upside down.

Drying Hydrangeas with Silica Gel

Using silica gel is the best way to dry fresh blooms, or flowers that have just opened and have not had time to naturally dry on the plant. Flowers dried with silica gel will have more vibrant and saturated colors than those allowed to dry naturally. Silica gel is actually not a gel, but a sandy substance with blue crystals, and can be purchased in large quantities from craft stores such as Michael's or AC Moore.

Be sure to use a Tupperware or plastic container that is large enough to hold the bloom with enough room on all sides and the bottom so the bloom will retain its shape. Cut fresh, newly opened blooms in the morning, and be sure the petals are dry (no rain or dew drops). Cut the stems short so it will fit in the container; leaves can be removed or left attached.

Hold the bloom upside-down over the container, and slowly sift the silica gel over and into the bottom of the container. Once there is a 1"-thick layer of gel at the bottom, gently drop the bloom onto the gel. Continue sifting the gel over the bloom, making sure to cover it on all sides and ensuring the gel bets between and underneath all the petals. Once the container is half-full, gently tap the sides to distribute the gel between the petals. Fill the container with the gel, cover tightly, and date. After 4 days, gently shake out the silica gel and remove the dried bloom! Blooms can be stored in a plastic bag until you're ready to use them for arrangements, or can be placed in a dry vase for viewing.


Pound Ridge Nursery & Garden Center is more than a local institution. We are a family business founded upon a strong desire to provide our customers with the highest quality plants and gardening materials available. Our expert landscapers and staff can help make your garden, property, and home look their best. Come see why Pound Ridge Nursery & Garden Center, in Pound Ridge, NY has been a destination for more than 80 yrs.

In conjunction with our sister company, Hudson Landscape Contractors & Tree Care Specialists, Inc. ( www.hudsonlandscapes.com ) Pound Ridge Nursery and Garden Center, Inc. will now offer a complete suite of high-end quality landscaping services providing a ‘one stop shop’ for all of your landscaping needs.

Our new service offerings include:

  • Property maintenance
  • Design/Build
  • Licensed Applicators & Arborists on staff
  • Arbor Care & Pruning by Certified Arborists
  • Masonry – patios, walls, outdoor kitchens
  • Fencing & deck structures
  • Irrigation systems installed & repaired
  • Complete site work
  • Fresh cut flowers and displays for all events and occasions




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