While spring may get all the garden love, there’s no better time for planting than fall.
Sure, you may need to wait a few months to see the bulbs bloom and enjoy the flush of fresh growth on your newly planted trees and shrubs, but the plants will thank you for it, says Stew Cockburn, third-generation nurseryman at Sequim’s family-owned New Dungeness Nursery.
“Fall is the best time for planting. The hardest part when establishing a new plant is the watering and now Mother Nature is doing it for you,” says Stew, who grew up in the family business, working with dad Doug, and recently earned his certified professional horticulturist designation.
As the leaves fade and drop, plants can put more energy into root development before turning dormant through winter. “As I grew up at the nursery, and doing home and commercial landscaping with my father, we always scheduled planting for fall.”
Embracing the beauty and benefits of native plants
Visiting the garden center, it’s easy to get captivated by fall-blooming chrysanthemums and the richly hued Japanese maples, but native plants like flowering red currant, yarrow and lupins are ideal to plant now and will pay colorful dividends next spring and summer.
Better yet, many native plants are now also being hybridized to create a broader color range while retaining their native benefits, like being adapted to our climate and less prone to pests than ornamental species.
“We can plant all the colors of the rainbow and the pollinators and the microbes still recognize them as natives,” Stew explains, noting the native plant section has doubled at the nursery over the last few years – testament to their value and appeal. The variety also lets you have interest in your garden year-round, from evergreen foliage to early-blooming flowers to long-lasting summer and fall color.
Enhancing food security
Here in the Pacific Northwest, our long growing season also lets us grow food through much of the year, including cool-weather greens, summer berries and tree fruits, and even winter veggies.
Fruit trees and shrubs are happiest planted in the fall, and while trees typically take a few years to bear fruit, Stew has brought in more mature specimens to offer a head start.
Which plant where?
If you’d like to start developing your garden but are unsure where to start, the New Dungeness team has a service for that! Offering site visits to look at your yard and review your goals and potential challenges, “it’s where we really have fun,” Stew says. “After all, whether it’s a small space or big, it should be a space you love.”
Coming up at the nursery is the annual fall sale, with 20 percent off all plant material from Oct. 23 to 30. Don’t miss their glorious Japanese maples – the perfect finishing touch for many a local garden! – plus a variety of rare and specialty conifers, in addition to shrubs, perennials, bulbs and more, all ready for planting.
And while the nursery offers year-round free delivery to Sequim and Port Angeles, during the sale that’s extended to all of Clallam and Jefferson counties.