Back-to-school is upon us and fall is right around the corner. Vibrant autumn colors will soon be making an appearance; leaves are poised to begin drifting lazily to the ground.
But perhaps surprisingly, when it comes to gardening, autumn is an excellent time of year to plant things. Pine Creek Farms and Nursery owner Gwen Sayers recently offered some suggestions on what can be done to keep gardens looking attractive in the fall, as well as how to best prepare for a flourishing garden in the spring.
“As we get into fall, it is the perfect time to plant things. It is the best time of year to put things in the ground as long as it’s a perennial that comes back year after year, or a shrub, or a tree,” said Sayers.
When it comes to annuals, plants which bloom for one season and then are done, more care is needed to ensure that the annual you are planting can accommodate the upcoming shift in the seasons. Sayers shared that pansies can be planted all throughout the fall and even into the winter.
“They do okay in the frost, and they’ll live through the snow a lot of times,” said Sayers.
Another way to extend the beauty of both perennials and annuals is by trimming away the old flowers.
“You can even sometimes get them to bloom another time before fall ends, so you get another flush of blooms through fall,” said Sayers.
Sayers explained that sweet peas are a popular annual flowering plant that can be grown from seed. They are notably bright and fragrant, do well in the sun, and will often bloom through November, provided that the old blooms are deadheaded and any seed pods are trimmed back.
One of the things that Sayers is looking forward to is digging up some of her perennials to be divided and then planted in other places throughout the nursery. Perennials like Hastas, Garden Phlox and Black-eyed Susans can be divided up in this fashion and replanted, populating other areas of the garden which may need some filler.
“So you plant them in the fall, and then they sit there all winter and develop roots, and then next year they come back as really strong plants,” said Sayers. “I think a lot of people don’t think of fall as the best time to plant, but it’s cooling down, we start getting our rain, and there’s not a lot of heat to stress the plants out.”
In addition to amending beds, trimming things back and doing miscellaneous cleanup, Sayers explained that fall is also a great time to experiment with growing things in pots.
“Something that we specialize in here is container gardens,” said Sayers. “Container gardens are a fun way to do gardens on a smaller scale or to dress up an area like the entrance to your home.”
Pine Creek advocates for utilizing evergreen and perennial plants in containers and pots, rather than only annuals. Annual plants like pansies can then be added to the ensemble, creating both texture as well as a vibrant splash of color. Once the annuals start to get tired or withered from the summer sun, they can simply be pulled out and fresh pansies can be added to keep the container looking full throughout the fall.
“We love to teach people about using perennials and evergreens and things that are there all year long,” said Sayers. “Then it’s not so much work to make it look good; you’re just plugging in some color here and there instead of replanting the whole thing.”
Pine Creek provides spring classes on things like container gardening and terrariums, and during the winter they offer wreath-making classes. Private parties can also be accommodated.
Pine Creek Farms and Nursery, located off U.S. 2 in Monroe, is owned by Gwen Sayers and her husband, Paul. When the two purchased the property in 2000, it consisted of rough pasture and blackberry brambles. Currently, the nursery, which opened in 2003, features a tree farm, several greenhouses, an events center and a gift shop. Rows upon rows of plants are available including evergreen plants, edibles, herbs, flowering plants, garden art and more.
They also provide bulk landscaping materials like gravel, bark, topsoil, mulches and compost. They also sell Christmas trees in the winter.
Gwen shared that Paul has been the driving force behind Pine Creek.
“Every year he’s added something new. This year it’s the events center,” said Gwen. “He started working on that early last spring, and it’s just about done now.”
“There are all these little pieces that go together, making it more of a well-rounded experience coming to a nursery,” she continued.
His next goal is to complete the new amphitheater which will enhance Pine Creek’s events facility.
Pine Creek’s events center can accommodate weddings, anniversary parties, birthday celebrations and corporate events. The lush garden environment features landscaped flowerbeds, courtyards, water features and much more. The gift shop includes everything from waterproof boots to coffee table books about gardening.
Paul, an accomplished landscape architect with over 20 years of experience, also owns and operates his own landscaping company called Paul Sayers Landscaping.
Gwen shared that eventually, the two hope to ease away from the landscaping business and operate the nursery on a full time basis.
Pine Creek Farms and Nursery is located at 23225 Sofie Rd. in Monroe. For additional information on the nursery, visit the website here: http://www.pinecreeknursery.com/nursery. The Pine Creek Facebook page can be found here: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Pine-Creek-Farms-and-Nursery/126058020778690.