Fall, like spring, is a time when the home garden can really shine. The heat and humidity of summer has passed, and the warm soil and cool nights of fall make the perfect environment for growing a fresh new garden full of flowers. Seattle, with its mild climate, is known as one of the great garden cities of North America. Garden centers are stocked with fresh autumn flowers like pansies, chrysanthemum and cosmos at this time of year, so go pick out your favorites, grab a garden trowel and get started.
Prepare the soil in an established flower bed by mixing in 2 inches of compost to the depth of a small shovel or garden trowel. In a new flower bed, mix in 1/3 compost the full depth of a shovel.
Pinch spent leaves and flower heads on the new plants before planting.
Remove the plants from their containers, and tuck them gently into the soil with a garden trowel. Tamp the soil around them gently to eliminate air pockets.
Scratch a little slow-release fertilizer into the soil around each plant. Follow label directions.
Water each plant so the soil is just moist.
Spread a 1-inch layer of mulch around the plants.
Water the plants throughout the fall as the soil around them starts to dry. Watering the plants at ground level and not all over them helps prevent mildew and guards against freeze later in the season.
Deadhead spent flowers and snip off leaves as they become yellow or droopy.