Gardening Q and A with Jennifer Brennan

October 3, 2010 10:00:00 PM PDT
Our gardening expert, Jennifer Brennan of Chalet Nursery in Wilmette, joined us in-studio to answer your fall planting questions.Amanda Rose Felella
I want to grow an avocado plant when is the best time to do that?

Answer: It is easy to start a seed anytime. To get the best plant, it is better to grow it during the longer days of the year from March through September.

Susan Sawyer Schlink
I would like to know how to "cut a flower or plant back" I have black eyed susan's that are huge and next year I don't want them to take over my garden. Would like to know how to do this without killing the original plant.

Answer: Black-eyed Susan's drop seeds that germinate very easily creating many more plants. It is best to "dead-head", cut the seed heads off before they can drop the seeds. To reduce the size of the original plant it is best to "divide" it. It is a little late in the season to do that now, so I would wait until the plant is just starting to grow next spring. Dig up the entire plant root area, use a sharp knife and cut the rootball into 2-4 sections. Re-plant one section in the original hole and share the others with friends or plant them in other areas of your yard.

Fran Stetina
What do I do with Lavender that is doing very well? Do I leave it alone or cut it back? I have had it in the yard for about 4 years and have done nothing with it, but I would like to have it continue to do well. When is the best time to plant Lavender? (

Answer: It is best to cut Lavendar back after it finishes flowering, usually in June or July. New growth forms, renewing the plant. It is best to plant in spring through summer, so the root system can get established before winter.

FALL PLANTING:

· Bulb planting time
· Cool temperature tolerant annuals and perennials for gardens and containers (will look good even when the temperatures drop down into the mid 20's F)
· Keep watering all landscape plants and lawns until the ground freezes solidly (to help them recover from the most stressful summer in 30 years)
· Garden tool maintenance time


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