With the fall planting season upon us, Atlanta INtown caught up with Walt Harrison, owner of Habersham Gardens Intown Garden Center, for a Q&A on how you can keep your garden in tip-top shape. Habersham is celebrating it’s 15th anniversary this year, while Harrison’s landscape service is marking 30 years keeping Intown lawns and gardens in bloom.

What are the top three things any gardener should do in preparation for fall?

Turn your soil 8” to 12” deep with a spade or shovel to provide aeration.

Add composted organic matter. Have some good liniment on hand for your sore back and muscles and pour a nice glass of wine when the day is done.

What do you consider some of Atlanta’s must-have plants for autumn interest?

That’s an entire article in and of itself but one of my favorites is Fothergilla gardenii. It appreciates a slightly moist environment, loves full sun, leaves turn gold/red/orange in the fall and delivers a beautiful wispy but substantial bloom in the spring. A real standout in the garden.

What are the most common mistakes do-it-yourselfers make in the landscape?

Landscaping is hard work and often people take on projects that are too big for them and become discouraged. Also, improper soil preparation and incorrect planting techniques such as not digging wide enough or planting too deep are common mistakes.

What is the best plant for a homeowner to buy for the highest return on their investment over the next 5-10 years?

Hands down, a tree.  Properly selected for the site and correctly planted.

Habersham Gardens Intown Garden Center is located at 2067 Manchester Street, Atlanta, 30324, just off Cheshire Bridge Road. Reach Habersham’s Landscape Services Division at (404) 873-4702. www.habershamgardens.com

Collin Kelley

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.