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Savour last autumn days in the garden

It is definitely autumn - the evenings and mornings are cool, but we have been blessed with lovely sunny days - what a treat before the grey days of winter.

It is definitely autumn - the evenings and mornings are cool, but we have been blessed with lovely sunny days - what a treat before the grey days of winter.

If you are like us, in fall we tend to ease up on our frantic social activities of summer and slow down a tad.

It seems like everyone wants to enjoy the warmth of summer and each other at the same time - leaving it to be an enjoyable, but crazy time.

There's lots still to be done in the garden - and lots of time to enjoy it before Old Man Frost calls a lot of it to a grinding halt.

Our tomatoes are now ripening at great speed, and late as they are, they are so welcome. We are enjoying our own beets with just about every evening meal, and some of our potatoes, too.

Don't forget our local corn, which they say won't be available for a quite a few more weeks. Cooking it and cutting it off to add to such things as scrambled eggs - what a treat!

Carrots and squash are also prolific right now and of course, pumpkins are right around the corner.

A walk around your garden now will tell a better tale of what spaces you need to add to, better than in early spring, when plants are not at their full size.

My greatest weakness as a gardener is not thinking/ remembering how big a plant will become each season. I see the large space in early spring and want to fill it, and then later in the season see how the original neighbouring plant has crowded out the new one. Pictures would help, of course, if one remembered to consult them!

Fall asters and mums are available everywhere - a great way to add colour to your garden now. Goldenrod is in full bloom, and the black-eyed Susans continue to put on a show. The zinnias and dahlias will continue to put on a display until the first frost, and if you continue to feed and deadhead your hanging baskets, they, too, should continue on.

After admitting to you that I had never fertilized our hanging baskets this year, I have a further confession to make: I never changed the soil. This is a major gardening faux pas, and I admit I was in a hurry and figured it wouldn't matter much.

Well, if you needed someone to tell you it really matters, this is it. We have started fertilizing, and it's amazing what some will do, even this late in the season. I won't make that same mistake again.

The one thing I do want to mention is that every year we plant two big hanging baskets in the shade. Despite containing what many would consider to be plants that require full sun, these are the baskets that thrive the most and continue to delight us far into the fall.

The lack of stress from the hot sun and the fact that they don't dry out seems to work.

Enjoy our beautiful weather! See you in the garden. Deb Brodie is a local gardener and a member of the Richmond Garden Club. She can be reached at debinthegarden@gmail.com.