The Q&A Archives: Planting in Ontairo in October

Question: I'm a beginner as far as gardening is concerned. It is now October in Southern Ontario, Canada and I would like to plant something that will not die over the winter months. It usually gets cold around January and February with temperatures around minus 10-15 and some snow. I have a new home and the grass was just laid down a month ago. There are no trees, flowers or shrubs; it is very bare. I covered a small area with landscaping fabric and some white rocks, but that is it. What can I plant now to brighten up the landscape next spring?

Answer: You should still be able to tuck in some hardy, spring-flowering bulbs like daffodils and crocus, though it's getting a bit late. If you decide to plant bulbs, do so right away, because they need some time to form roots before the cold weather hits.

You could also try planting a few perennials and even small shrubs. Just be sure to choose healthy, container-grown plants, and make sure they aren't pot bound (where the roots completely fill the container). Plant them as soon as possible and water them well. (Water any bulbs you plant too.) Once the ground freezes, mulch around the plants to protect them from winter freeze/thaw cycles that can heave them out of the ground.

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