Sept. 22 column

Here is a link to my column in today's edition of The Spokesman-Review: Fall clean-up prepares plants for long winter's nap. Now that it's fall, there are a lot of things we can do in the garden to get things ready for winter. There are also projects that can wait -- or should definitely wait -- until late winter or early spring.

Tim Kohlhauff, Urban Horticulture Coordinator for WSU/Spokane County Extension, really knows his stuff when it comes to the timing of garden tasks, pruning techniques and so on. He was kind enough to share his knowledge with me so I could in turn share it with you. I hope you'll find it really helpful.

On a related note, I'm interested in getting your feedback about fall vs. spring garden tasks. I generally tend to do my yard clean-up in the fall but have heard folks say they prefer to wait until spring to do it all. I know there are pros and cons to this approach but I've tried this before and found that it's very stressful to wait that long because then you feel like there's way more to do, come spring! What works best for you?

Also, one of the things I didn't mention in my column is that I try to leave the seedheads on some of my perennials for the birds to enjoy during the winter. This includes Purple Coneflowers (Echinacea purpurea) and Black-eyed Susans (Rudbeckia hirta). If you feel comfortable doing this, I know the birds will flock to your garden and appreciate these gifts especially in the dead of winter.