COMPLEAT HOME GARDENER: Hooray for hydrangeas, fall’s bloomers

Meet Marianne Binetti from 10 to 11:30 a.m. Saturday at Furney’s Nursery in SeaTac. Enjoy a free seminar on fall gardening and landscaping with less water waste.

The last week of September is still too early to harvest pumpkins but not too late to plant garlic or onion sets. You don’t have to harvest potatoes, carrots or brussels sprouts as these vegetables store better when left outdoors all winter. Swiss chard will also overwinter in well-drained soil and in our climate this vitamin-packed veggie can keep producing for two full years. I grow the beautiful leaves and colorful stems of Swiss chard in container gardens and in front yard beds surrounded by flowers. Growing Swiss chard close to the house makes the leaves easy to harvest all winter long and even the tough stems can be cut up and added to soups, stews and stir fries.

There is still time to replant those summer-weary container gardens with winter-tough herbs and perennials. Just rip out the past-their-prime petunias and sever the tops off seedy snapdragons and wilted coleus. Nurseries are still offering “Fall Magic” plants perfect for perking up containers. Make this the winter you enjoy your patio planters all year long by adding frost-resistant, tri-color sage, hardy dwarf euphorbias, dramatic heucheras, winter-blooming heathers and the well-behaved and long-blooming winter pansies. A fall-planted container garden will make winters in the Northwest bearable and beautiful. Sneak some spring-blooming bulbs into your pots as well. They’ll come up and flower thought the foliage of the perennials.

Let’s hear some hoorays for hydrangeas

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