Winter is on the way, which means it’s time to prep your plants for snow, cold weather, and pesky winter critters. Lucky for you, protecting your plants takes just a few easy (we promise!) steps.

Rose Care

Some roses are more hardy than others. If you see a root graft at the base of the plant (you should see this on your hybrid tea varieties) you’ll want to give your rose a little extra protection. Apply a woody mulch, compost, or Sweet Peet in a mound around the base of the plant.

Evergreen Care

During the winter months, evergreens can be vulnerable to desiccation, or over dryness of the foliage. You can combat this by applying Wilt-Pruf, an all-natural pine resin, to the tops and bottom of your foliage. Apply the first coat before temperatures are consistently in the freezing zone, typically around Thanksgiving, and then reapply when temperatures peak back up to the ’40s.

Perennial Care

As the temperatures drop, most of your perennials will start to look a little sad, with foliage turning yellow and dropping to the ground. But don’t worry, your plant isn’t dead. For perennials, you’ll want to cut that foliage down to about two inches above the ground. This step will prevent that dead foliage from developing diseases like blackspot and clears the way for new plant growth. Come spring you’ll have a whole new plant!

Note: There are some plants you’ll want to avoid cutting back in the fall. When in doubt, feel free to ask us. We’re here to help!


Fruit Tree Care

For fruit trees, you’ll want to apply horticultural oil. This “seals in” the plant and gets it through the winter months and also helps prevent scale and other insects. You can also use horticultural oil on holly, boxwood, and rose, and hydrangea cane.


Fall Fertilization

It’s a good idea to fertilize your plants in the fall to set your plants up for success in the spring. Roots will hang on to the fertilizer you apply now and come spring your plants and lawns will get that extra boost they need to push out new growth, especially following a harsh winter. For additional tips and to find out what type of fertilizer you should use, be sure to check out our article on fall fertilization.


Vole Prevention

Voles will happily girdle roots, gnaw on bark, and munch on bulbs. They tunnel freely in the soft earth and snow, damaging trees and shrubs all the way up to the snow line. To help to prevent those pesky critters, apply a granular mole & vole repellent right before the first snowfall.


Deer Prevention

Arborvitaes and other evergreens can be especially vulnerable to deer in the winter months when their food is in short supply. If deer are prevalent in your area, apply a granular deer repellant (liquid repellents will freeze) to your plants in the winter.

So you’ve had a bountiful veggie season, and harvested your crops, and now that temperatures are beginning to drop, that’s it, right? Well, not quite. If you want to have a successful season next year, you can take a few extra steps now to treat your soil and ensure your plants will do just as well (or better) come spring.

Step 1: Clean Up

This step is so important! Before doing anything else, take a few moments to pull out weeds, brush, and other dead plant material. Some of this debris contains disease and insects which can cause problems in the spring, so you’ll want to remove them from the bed rather than just rake them in.


Step 2: Add Lime

Most veggies tend to like the soil a little “sweet” so you can sprinkle some garden lime on top of the soil now, so it has time to absorb into the ground and change the PH of the soil by the time spring arrives. Tip: If you’re planning on planting potatoes you can skip this step as they tend to like more acidic soil.


Step 3: Add Nutrients

If you think about how nutritious your veggies are, just remember that those nutrients come from the ground. You can help replace depleted nutrients by putting down Organic Garden-tone at the same time you apply the lime. This step will also help add in some microbial activity which further benefits the soil.


Step 4: Insect Control

To help keep unwanted insects at bay, you can apply an organic insect control like diatomaceous earth to keep your springtime veggies happy.


Step 5: Amend the Soil

To give your soil some additional love, we recommend top dressing your garden bed with compost like Soilution which contains lots of beneficial goodies including earthworm castings, mycorrhiza, biochar, lobster, kelp, and nutrients (everything but the kitchen sink).


Step 6: Plant a Cover Crop

There are a few reasons why you should consider planting a cover crop like Winter Rye. First, it quickly fills in the garden bed, which prevents weeds, but also acts as erosion control. Second, since Winter Rye is deep-rooted, it pulls nitrogen up to the top layers of soil through the roots which your veggies love. The deep root system also keeps the soil from becoming compact, which will make springtime planting easier. And finally, you can let it grow until about three weeks before you plant, and then, when you cut it back, you can till it directly into the garden bed to create green manure.


And that’s it! Following these simple steps now will ensure your garden will do even better next year!

Happy gardening!

One of the most overlooked, yet most important, fall gardening tasks is fertilization. As the temperatures drop and everything begins to go dormant, you might think your plants and lawns don’t need to be fertilized. Not so! Fertilizing in the fall sets your plants up for success in the spring. Roots will hang on to the fertilizer you apply now and come spring your plants and lawns will get that extra boost they need to push out new growth.

So what kind of fertilizer should you use? To make it easy we’ve broken it down into a few categories. Still not sure? Give us a call, or pay us a visit. We’re always happy to help!


Acid-Loving Trees and Shrubs

For your acid-loving trees and shrubs including Rhododendron, Holly bushes, and Hydrangeas, we recommend Holly-tone. But instead of using the full recommended dosage, for your fall application, you’ll want to use only half the amount.


Alkaline-Loving Plants

For the non-acid-loving plants in your yard such as lilac, butterfly bush, and boxwood, use Plant-tone at the full rate. Typically you’ll want to use 1 cup of plant-tone for every foot of shrub width.


Deciduous Trees and Shrubs

Once the leaves have all dropped from your deciduous trees such as maples, weeping cherries, and plum trees, you’ll want to apply Tree-tone at the full rate. It may seem like a lot, but you’ll want to apply 9-15 cups of Tree-tone per every inch of tree diameter.



After you’ve done your last lawn mow of the season (hooray!), you can give it a head start in the spring by applying your favorite conventional or organic lawn food. Come spring your lawn will be the envy of the neighborhood!


What is the number one must-have for fall decorating? It’s the pumpkin of course! It’s a mandatory staple for Halloween, but pumpkins are versatile when it comes to decorating, and they can take you all the way through the fall into Thanksgiving! Most of you are probably familiar with Howden pumpkins which are ideal for carving, or Sugar pumpkins which are common in baking, but we carry some lesser-known ‘unique pumpkins’ which make a statement in any home, or on any stoop. We’ve rounded up a list of a few of our favorite gourd-gous pumpkins just in time for fall!



One of the best pumpkins for Halloween carving or roasted seeds.



Don’t be scared, this ghostly white pumpkin is named after the friendly ghost Casper! Perfect for carving and even better for painting. Caspers provides great contrast in fall gourd and pumpkin displays. The flesh is super sweet, making it a great choice for pies and baking too!



The French heirloom Galeux D’Eysines Pumpkin is a very popular variety right now! It has a beautifully warted exterior which is a very soft muted buckskin color. It also makes for a delicious pie!


Red Warty Thing

Don’t be fooled by the peculiar appearance! Not only is this a super fall decoration, but it also has stringless, fine-grained flesh that’s excellent for eating, similar to a hubbard squash. Carve a face into it and make the most bizarre and spooky jack-o-lantern on your block!



These can be used in any pumpkin recipe. Puree to make the perfect pumpkin butter or soups or try roasting or grilling to enhance the sweet flavor.



Sugar Pumpkins are great for making soups or stuffing. It’s also great as a homemade pumpkin puree for pies.



Yes, the name derives from the fairytale as the shape of Cinderella’s carriage! This variety was reportedly cultivated by the Pilgrims for the first Thanksgiving dinner with perfect flavor for pies or winter squash recipes.



Sweet flavoring lends itself well to pie fillings, scones, and cakes. You can also use roasted pieces in risottos, salads, and pasta dishes. Dice and add to curries, soups, and stews. To showcase the unique exterior color slice into wedges leaving the skin attached and serve roasted or grilled.



Very eye-catching for holiday decorations. Deep-orange sweet flesh can be used for pies, soup, and gourmet culinary delights.


One Too Many

This pumpkin, which resembles a bloodshot eye, features delicate orange veining throughout.


Striped Tondo

This stunning ornamental squash/pumpkin features speckled, deep green stripes atop a beautiful creamy gold.



This long-lasting pumpkin looks like a flattened wheel of cheddar. Higher in nutrients and sugars, it’s always smooth-grained and has a denser flesh that will result in a better custard. You can also use chunks in your winter roasts and stews.

As our days get shorter and the nights get cooler, it’s time to start thinking about fall colors and decorating for the season!

One of our staple fall plants here at the garden center is traditional fall mums. They’re available in a wide range of colors, which means you can create a beautiful fall container to match any décor. So what pairs well with mums? Mum buddies! (Or at least that’s what we call them.) There’s really no shortage of mum companion plants, especially given the large variety of colors. We’ve rounded up a short list of just a few of our favorites.



What goes better with mums than more mums? Mix and match colors for a striking combination.


Cabbage & Kale

We love using these hearty, leafy plants in containers since they’ll continue to look great even as temperatures start to drop. They’re even known to withstand snow.



There’s a wide range of grasses you can use in your fall containers to add a touch of color, texture, and interest with varying heights. We especially love varieties that turn red and burgundy as it gets cooler.



Daisy-like blossoms, with a resemblance to a star, will give your garden a fresh new shade of color. While many fall color pallets are in the conventional red, orange, yellow, Asters offer some cool alternatives in purples, whites, and pinks.



For bright fall color which nearly resembles tie-dye, we love using Croton in our containers, and later bringing it back inside as a houseplant.



One of our favorite spring flowers makes a comeback in the fall! With lots of colors available you can match your flowers to any arrangement, or add a contrasting pop of color.



Celosia offers fun textures for your fall containers or landscapes that last all the way into the fall.



These late bloomers are great for adding fall color right as more tender plants begin to die back.



Stunning fall texture comes from both the foliage and flowers of sedum. Both drought and heat tolerant, sedum is especially ideal for late summer/early fall containers which may still be exposed to hot temperatures.


Ornamental Peppers

With constantly ripening fruit, you can expect to see a range of colors on one single plant, for an evolving fall display.


Once you have the perfect fall container planted up with mums and their buddies, you can pair it with pumpkins, cornstalks, hay bales, and even some Indian corn. Your space will be feeling like fall in no time! Need Help? Stop by the garden center and we can give you a hand selecting your fall plants and accessories!

This time of year, we frequently have people wondering if it’s too late to plant. We’re happy to report that fall is a FANTASTIC time to plant! Why? Well, there are a number of reasons. Cool nighttime temperatures, moderate daytime temperatures, and warm soil temperatures create favorable conditions that allow for rapid root establishment. Combine this with the fact that most plants are now finishing their top growth for the season, it allows the root system to take advantage of all the hard work your plant did during the growing season. You can certainly help your plant get ready for winter by planting with Van Wilgen’s Jump Start and amending the soil with Van Wilgen’s Premium Planting Mix. You’ll also want to make sure you water your new plant every three days if mother nature doesn’t help you out. We are never quite sure what she is up to these days.

You can still find plenty of fresh plant material here at the Garden Center that’s waiting to be put into the ground! Plant them now, and they’ll have a head start come spring!

Have questions? We’re here to help! Stop by and we can answer your questions and give you additional planting advice to ensure your plants thrive in your garden.

Fall is here which means cool weather and frosty mornings are headed our way. Unfortunately for your plants, there’s no heater or jacket that can help keep them warm, and as a result, some of your plants will begin to look a little sad once temperatures start to drop. If you’re like many gardeners, that means it’s time to hack everything back! Well…maybe not. If you have any of these plants listed below, you’ll want to avoid cutting them to the ground later this fall, or in some cases, cutting them back at all.