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  • Upcoming Garden Events

    Sept. 30: The Nashville Herb Society presents Through the Garden Gate: A Glimpse of Edwardian England, 8 a.m. – 3 p.m. at Cheekwood Botanic Hall. Celebrate the gardens, foods and flowers that delighted Downton Abby family and friends at the turn of the 20th century. The event begins with a hearty Edwardian breakfast, followed by three speakers: Marta McDowell on Beatrix Potter’s Gardening Life; Geraldine A. Laufer on Tussie Mussie – Victorian art of expressing yourself in the language of flowers; and Terry White, The English Garden event florist . Registration includes breakfast, box lunch in the garden with music, English tea and cookies. To learn more or to register, visit www.herbsocietynashvlle.org.

    Tips & tasks – September

    Cut the dead tops of coneflowers, but leave enough for goldfinches to enjoy the seeds.

    Plant cool-weather vegetables for a fall crop: spinach, mustard and turnip greens, radishes, leaf lettuce.

    Start a new lawn of cool-season grass, such as fescue, or refurbish or repair establish lawns.

    Don’t let the soil of newly planted grass dry out. New grass needs about an inch of water per week.

    It’s still warm, so continue to water and weed garden beds as needed.

    Remove dead foliage, spent flowers and other garden debris; replenish mulch as needed.

    Continue to harvest produce, which may be getting a boost now from slightly cooler weather. Keep watering sage, rosemary and other perennial herbs so they’ll be in good shape to get through winter.

    Prepare to bring houseplants back indoors: remove dead leaves, scrub soil from the sides of the pots, treat for insects. Bring tropical plants in before nighttime temperatures dip to 55 degrees.

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Potted mums announce the end of summer

I love to use pots of chrysanthemums in my garden in the fall, but they die pretty quickly. How can I get them to last longer?

MumsYou know summer’s coming to an end when you begin to see potted mums at all the garden centers in all sizes and price ranges. As a seasonal accent plant, they are an easy way to add color to porches and patios and late-summer/early-fall gardens.

Mums growing in their plastic nursery pots will last for several weeks if they receive regular water, but they will look better and may last longer with a little more care. Garden center experts recommend transplanting mums into decorative containers using good potting soil, ideally using a bloom-boosting fertilizer. Make sure the container drains well.

Chrysanthemums grow best in full sun but can tolerate some shade, and they need consistent moisture. They can also be planted in the ground, in a sunny location with well-drained soil. In the right location, they will come back year after year.

Garden expert Judy Lowe (in her book, Month-By-Month Gardening in Tennessee & Kentucky), suggests dividing mums growing in the ground every other year. In the garden, they should be pinched back a couple of times during spring and summer to delay blooming. Lowe also notes that you should avoid planting mums in an area that receives light from streetlights or a security light, as chrysanthemums won’t bloom without nighttime darkness.

Fall gardening: Time to tend to your lawn, and Garden Events, Tips & Tasks at Tennessean.com.

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