Cleaning up the Garden in Autumn

Since I really feel the need to keep my mouth shut today about a lot of different topics, I’ll share some photos with you from my earlier garden clean up this week at North Woods International School.  Mind you, this isn’t a photo only post. I’ll let you in on what I saw, cause there were lots of cool things!


Last spring I was frustrated to see ferns sprouting up in the back of the garden bed at school. I don’t remember the ferns being there last fall and they quickly took over an entire area. You might not know that ferns spread by spores which are on the back of the fronds, so they are more unusual than a typical plant – one that I could incorporate into a future garden club lesson. But, in the meantime, I needed to clean them up for winter.


There is even some new foliage starting, even though we are headed into mid-autumn.


But the frost has already nabbed some of the tender fronds. It’s interesting that the brown fronds that were killed are in the middle of the plant, not around the edges.



It’s still beautiful is a weird kind of way. I did not discriminate the new and the old fronds were both cut back during my cleaning session on Monday. Ferns typically are thought of as forest floor type of foliage. Therefore, they like dappled sunlight rather than hot, direct rays. The garden these ferns were growing faces East and thus receives a milder, earlier sun. They are blocked from the strong western sun by the school building, so although these are not growing on a forest floor, they are in a protected area. And, obviously thriving. I think I will be digging some up to thin them out!




We also have a bed of succulents in another area of the garden at school. In this bed are not only hens and chicks, but also sedums and a couple of Yucca plants. It is a beautiful area that draws your eye in a very understated way. Some of the sedums were blooming on Monday, as sedums do in the fall. Take a look ……….

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The flowers on the Sedums look so rich and add some unexpected pops of color.

Monarch on Sedum in October!

While I was in the garden, I saw three monarchs visiting on the zinnia patch and two on this Sedum! Although I loved that they were there, I did ask them, ever so politely to “get out-of-town!  It’s going to get cold here soon! Although, it was 85 here on Tuesday, today is struggling to be in the mid-50’s. I hope my monarch friends left town when they had the chance!


Lastly, there were the ground roses. They are flourishing despite the change in weather. I took steps to protect these bushes this year, as the previous gardeners were careful tenders of these newer additions to the gardens. They are all the same variety, name unknown to me, but a deep, vibrant pink color that is eye-catching. Mid-summer I got permission to spray some insecticide on them because something was eating them. I wondered if it was aphids off the milkweed just behind these bushes in the back of the border. We were careful to spray on a day without wind to decrease drift to the milkweed and my beloved monarchs. Next year, I’ll be on the lookout for something less toxic, along the lines of insecticidal soap.


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Some were past their prime, while other buds were still waiting to open. Each of the five bushes still had blooms, as well as buds and rose hips that had formed.

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There was a lot going on in the garden for a warm October day. I’m glad I went and enjoyed the serenity of the flowers, butterflies, and blooms. There’s more work to do, but all it good time, all in good time.

5 thoughts

  1. What a lovely post. I’d love to have some ferns- they remind me of childhood flower beds where I grew up. I’m kind of like you- see the beauty in the colorful and the brown crunchy things. Hope you’re doing well. I haven’t blogged in a long time. Have a nice day!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. We did. We are doing great here. The house is a perfect fit. I’ve been painting rooms. My Little Bit has colors picked out for all the rooms. We decided to go with his colors! It’s been super fun! Pink office, gray entryway, green bathrooms, various shades of orange for bedrooms. Cheery!

        Liked by 1 person

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