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Practical Gardening Monthly

Hello Gardening Friends!  October has arrived and what a colorful month.  As I write this, the leaves are starting to change and putting on quite the autumnal show.  I especially love the orange and red hues.

Fall is an ideal time to plant ... it allows trees, shrubs, and perennials to take root without the stress of summer heat.  Let's get planting!

Make a trip to your local arboretum and take a hike through the majestic trees.  Let's enjoy this crisp weather before winter sets in and we spend more time indoors.

Keep reading for my helpful monthly garden "to do's" listed below.  Discover what's new and blooming at for more gardening advice, tips, and inspiration for your Zone 5 & 6 gardens ...

"Fall has always been my favorite season. The time when everything bursts with its last beauty, as if nature had been saving up all year for the grand finale"

~  Lauren DeStefano

Latest Flower Chick Posts
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Flower Chick's Favorite Perennials for Zone 5
Small Space Gardening Tips

Don’t think you have enough space to start the garden of your dreams? Well, think again! There are many ways to garden in a limited area. You just need to be a little flexible and creative.

From small vegetable & herb gardens to growing your favorite flowers in compact spaces, there’s a multitude of ways to get planting!

Explore Ways To Garden In Small Spaces
Fall Container Ideas

Refresh your containers for Fall!  Think warm fall colors such as reds, oranges, shades of gold and yellow, deep plum and green tones. 

First, pull out the plants that don’t look so good and put in plants that will see your containers through the cooler months of fall. Not only will this rejuvenate your arrangements, it will lift your spirits and put you in an autumn frame of mind.

You can create unique and colorful fall containers using flowering plants, interesting ornamentals like finger peppers, and foliage in the rich colors of nature. Top off the look with pumpkins from your neighborhood farmstand for an inviting display …

Discover How To Liven Up Fall Containers

October Garden "To Do" List:

  • Plant, Plant, Plant! - can't stress enough how optimal fall is for planting. All the benefits of a new tree, shrub or perennial but you don't have to worry about watering all summer!
  • Weed, Weed, Weed! - besides cleaning up around diseased plants, this is a giant “must.” Dig up those weeds and discard the seeds. Fewer seeds now =  fewer weeds next year.
  • Take Care of Your Lawn -  aerate if needed, sow grass seed in any bare spots, and cover with a dense layer of compost or straw to encourage healthy growth.
  • Save Those Good Seeds - with fall’s arrival, the flowering plants are slowing down. If you have a favorite annual flower (or perennial) that bloomed beautifully, save their seeds to plant next year.
  • Get Those Bulbs In The Ground - October is the ideal time to plant spring flowering bulbs.  A little work now will reward you with a colorful spring flower show!
  • Frost On The Way - listen to the weather forecast so you know when frost hits your area.  Pull out summer annuals killed by frost.  Protect growing veggies #ad and tender plants.
  • Disease Prevention - clean up as you harvest. Toss overgrown or rotting produce on the compost heap or in the garbage. Remove dying plant matter, which can attract diseases and pests
  • Dig Up Your Tender Bulbs - cannas, dahlias and the like need to be dug up carefully in frost-prone zones for indoor storage. Stash them in a dry spot like an unheated garage or basement at around 40-50 degrees.
  • Houseplant Care - give your houseplants some t.l.c.  and pluck any dying leaves, check if they are becoming pot bound, and give them a mist of water now that it's getting drier in the house.
  • Plant Conifers - this is a great time to plant evergreen trees and shrubs, such as pines, spruces, and firs, because the plants will have time to develop their roots before the winter conditions.
  • Survey Says - try to do an informal survey of  your garden ... while it's fresh in your mind.  What worked and didn’t work this season.  Make a plan for next year.  Taking photos is helpful.
Travel To Midwestern Gardens

Need a little gardening inspiration? Looking for some good cheer and vicarious travel?  Get inspired by the Midwest’s beautiful botanical gardens, arboretums, and other stunning natural attractions! Join us as we visit these wonderful Zone 5 & Zone 6 sites.  

Flower Chick was busy in September ... we travelled to several gardens in Illinois:  Decatur, Mahomet, plus revisited Springfield and Bloomington to add more can't miss horticultural spots. 

Follow along with us and plan your own trips … you’ll even find a guide of fun, local attractions to enjoy in the various towns and cities. Come back often as we keep adding new posts to our Illinois Gardens , Indiana Gardens, Iowa GardensMichigan Gardens & Wisconsin Gardens categories.

Visit Mabery Gelvin Botanical Gardens

In this “Visiting Midwest Gardens” feature, Flower Chick spotlights the beautiful Mabery Gelvin Botanical Gardens in Mahomet, Illinois. Join us to discover what makes this picturesque setting so special ...

In 2019, the entire pond and waterfall area underwent a complete renovation. The pond was completely drained and repaired along with removal of six million pounds of silt and debris. The results are spectacular!

You’ll Love These 4 Decatur Gardens

Join us as Flower Chick travels to central Illinois to spotlight four scenic Decatur gardens!  

Decatur is a fairly easy city to get around, so these four gardens can be easily explored in the course of a day. 

Decatur’s most prominent natural feature is Lake Decatur, a man made lake created in the early 1920’s. Two of Decatur’s best known parks, Nelson Park (north shore) and Scovill Park (south shore) are adjacent to the lake.

10 Reasons To Visit Washington Park Botanical Garden

As part of our “Visiting Midwest Gardens” series, we’re pleased to spotlight one of Springfield’s notable attractions. It’s the Washington Park Botanical Garden, located on the city’s west side.

On this most recent visit, we also explored the picturesque Lincoln Memorial Garden. You’ll find this expansive 63 acre site on the city’s far southeast side along the shores of Lake Springfield …

Visiting Bloomington IL Garden Sites

On our recent visit to the area, we stopped at the impressive Illinois State University Horticulture Center in Normal. The Center is located on Raab Road, north of the University Golf Course, and across the street from Heartland Community College.

The Center encompasses 18 acres, including several display gardens, a Children’s Garden, restored prairie area, a large vegetable plot, and more ... an amazing feast for the senses!

Did you know ... 7 Fun Facts About Chrysanthemums:

Chrysanthemums (also known as mums) are tropical flowers.  They are native to Asia and northeastern Europe.  These fall favorites can be planted in the ground or added to container arrangements for a seasonal burst of color.

Other than its traditional yellow color, there are also other pretty hues available such as purple, lavender, pink, burgundy, bronze, white and rust.

  1. My Kind of Town - On June 17, 1966 the chrysanthemum was designated the official flower of the City of Chicago.
  2. What the World Needs Now - According to feng shui, the chrysanthemum is believed to bring happiness and laughter to the home. 
  3. Pretty Tasty -The flowers and leaves are edible. The leaves are steamed or boiled and eaten as leafy vegetables in Chinese cuisine.
  4. Gold Flower - The name Chrysanthemum comes from the Greek words “khrusos” meaning gold and “anthemom” meaning flower.
  5. Dearly Beloved - In some European countries, the chrysanthemum is considered the flower of death and is typically used in funerals and on graves.
  6. Air Cleaner Extraordinaire - Florist's chrysanthemums or “mums” are ranked high for air purification. They're shown to eliminate common toxins as well as ammonia. 
  7. Look To The Sky - The term “chrysanthemum” is also used to refer to a certain type of fireworks shell that produces a pattern of trailing sparks similar to a chrysanthemum flower.
Containers of Vinca, Begonias, New Guinea Impatiens, and Geraniums by

Dear Gardening Friends, Thanks so much for reading!!  I hope you enjoyed the October newsletter and it inspired you to get some fall chores done in your own gardens while the temperatures are moderate. 

This is a great time to reflect on what we liked about our gardens this season, and what you might like to change.  Jot down annuals you loved that bloomed all summer, and make note of what might have been an invasive garden "bully" so you don't buy that again. 

I'll be back in early November with more gardening fun and advice. Looking forward to visiting more botanical gardens in 2021 and sharing them with you.  Iowa and Michigan .... get ready we're headed your way!

~ Laura a.k.a. Flower Chick

P.S. Click on the social icons below to follow me on Facebook, Twitter, & Pinterest!

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Is there a botanical garden, arboretum, or nature area you love and would like to see us feature in a future issue?  Please share below ...

Tell Us About Your Favorite Garden in Zone 5 / 6
Washington Park Springfield IL by
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3820 Capri Court Suite 306, Naperville
IL 60564 United States

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