A seasonal dahliance: Numerous dahlias are in their glory right now, in sizes ranging from pom-poms (up to 2 inches in diameter) to giants (up to 10 inches!). The national flower of its native Mexico, dahlias have been bred to produce thousands of cultivars with white, yellow, orange, pink, dark pink, red, dark red, lavender, purple, bronze, flame, varigated and bicolor blooms. Though you won’t be planting dahlias until spring, now is the time to “window shop” your neighbors’ gardens to get an idea how they’ll look in your yard.
Beetle battle: If Japanese beetles got your goat this year — or more accurately, got your flowers, fruit trees, roses and raspberries — milky-spore disease is an effective and nontoxic antidote. It works best if applied over a wide area, so enlist your neighbors and spread the disease spores liberally. It can take a few seasons and repeated applications for the disease to get going, but it will then eliminate beetle/grub infestations for up to 15 years.
Towers of flowers: Most of us with an eye for blossoms eagerly await spring’s burst of flowering trees: dogwoods, redbuds, mulberry, weeping cherries, flowering plums, crab apples and all the rest. Some of us forget that fall is the time to get started making our yards the ones that people like us drool over come May. If you’ve often idly imagined one of these beauties gracing your yard, now is the time. Grab that shovel! Plant a pretty posy!
NOTE: The Xpress garden section will be turned under for the season after Oct. 18; look for it again when the crocuses are in bloom.