by Cynthia Lacken
Welcome to autumn in Van Buren County. The fall colors against the cerulean blue skies make the Ozark foothills look dramatic as they frame out beautiful Greers Ferry Lake. Breathtaking vistas are all around us! Just leaving the Clinton Annex on Hwy 65 gives a spectacular panoramic view reminiscent of a fall patchwork quilt. Leaves of every color, shape and form are literally floating through the air as we work on end-of-year garden chores. Those leaves can provide valuable mulch for tender plants as well as nutrient-rich compost. You will want to clean up your perennials as they die back, though some may need to be deferred until February for routine pruning (such as ornamental grasses, roses, etc.). For those residing locally, beware of the urge to burn your leaves unless you check with local fire authorities to make sure a burn ban is not in place. You can preserve annuals as long as you can by covering them at night if the temperature drops to freezing or tucking them into a garage or shed until morning. Be sure to keep them watered as well.
The Master Gardeners wish you a Happy Thanksgiving and encourage you to take in all the season has to offer. For more information about the Master Gardener program, please contact Marylou Horvath, President, VBC Master Gardeners at (501) 884-6934 or our VB County Extension Agent Danny Griffin at (501)745-7117.