Petals from the Past

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Monthly Garden Gossip

October, 2017

Welcome to our garden! We're proud of our hard work and want to share the reward with you, so here is what's going on in the garden this month..Central Alabama

Fall Color

Bluebird Aster, Aster Laevis, also known as Smooth Aster puts on a stunning display of light lavender flowers with yellow centers from late summer to frost. Bluebird aster loves a sunny location and is quite drought tolerant. An added benefit is that the butterflies love the nectar as well as being a host plant.Hardy in zones 4-8. They are 30-36 tall and wide.

What a surprise to walk out into the border and find Lycoris raidiata also known as Naked Ladies, hurricane lillies, resurrection flowers and spider lily in full bloom. Lycoris is a late summer blooming member of the amaryllis family. They appear in fall, mostly after a heavy rain. The strap shaped leaves emerge after flowering and remain green throughout the winter and disappearing in early summer.

Divide the bulbs about every five years or when they are crowded. Divide them opposite their season of bloom. Although, if you divide them right after they bloom it is easier to find them. Sometimes they will skip a year of bloom when divided but they will make up for it the following season. Your garden should not be without this magnificant bulb.

aster

Lycoris

fall trees

Trees and Shrubs

The parking lot here at Petals was brimming over with our fall trees and shrubs. Fall is one of the best times to plant trees and shrubs since the weather has cooled off and we usually get more rain in the fall and winter months. When planting dig the hole no deeper than the container that the plant was purchased in and twice as wide. Mix Black Kow, mushroom compost or just your homemade compost into the hole with the existing soil. Make sure you water in your plant well to get out any air pockets. Give your plant about 1" of water a week if we don't get rain.

WildFlower Seed

The 2017 wildflower seed is now in stock. October through January is an excellent time to plant seed for these spring flowering annuals. They bring an abundance of color to the spring garden. Many of these seeds need the cold weather to help them germinate. We have seeds for California Poppies, Peony Poppies, Larkspur and Batchelor Buttons. These are just a few of the seeds we have in stock.

Prepare the area by lightly tilling or raking the area. Then sow the seed with 1 part seed to 4 parts sand. This helps to disperse the seed so there won't be clumps of seed in one place and none in the other. Then water everything in. The seeds are sold for $1.00 per tablespoon or teaspoon depending on the size of the seeds.

Larkspur and Poppies

Larkspur and White Peony Poppies

Pansies

Pansies and violas are HERE!! These popular plants do well in the cool winter months. They should be planted now through mid October so they will have a chance to root in before very cold weather arrives. Pansies do best when the night temperatures are below 65 degrees. Plant them in well drained soil. They do not like to be in constantly wet conditions. Work in some organic matter, well rotted leaves or compost. Pansies grow best in full sun but will tolerate light shade. Blood meal is a good organic fertilizer for pansies but if you have a dog it will drive him crazy. A water soluble fertilizer is also excellent for pansies.

Pansies and violas come in many colors. Some with faces and some solid colors. They can withstand temperatures in the single digits and freeze solid and then bounce right back with blooms when the weather warms.

pansies
Don't let all those fall leaves go to waste. Till them into your garden or put them in your compost pile.

Bulbs

Bulbs

All the fall bulbs are now here. Paperwhite Narcissus, many types of daffodils, crocus and tulips. We have the specie tulips, often called botanical tulips, which do very well in the south. They will multiply and return year after year. The flowers on them are a little smaller but still very pleasing to the eye and sometimes fragrant. Clusiana Lady Jane and Cluisiana Chrysantha are two that we have in stock.

 

Fall Vegetable Garden

There is a great selection of lettuce plants, kale, Swiss chard and many other vegetables that can be fall planted. It is not too late to sow seed. Lettuces can be direct seeded into the garden but try to sow seed for lettuce about every 10 days to lengthen your harvest. It is best to direct seed beets and carrots as well as turnips for turnip greens. All our 2018 seeds are in and available for sale. Don't forget about spinach.

Fall is is good time to add to the herb garden too. Parsley grows well in the cooler months and stays green all winter.

Swiss Chard

Swiss Chard

Remember to rotate your crops to a new location.  This helps prevent the build up of pathogens and pests when one species is grown continually in the same area.

Citrus trees can be sprayed with ultra fine oil mixed with Neem oil.  This helps to control greasy spot and mites

Continue cleaning up your flower beds. Pull up spent annuals such as zinnias and cosmos. When pulling up the zinnias and cosmos you can also save the seed for next year.

This is a good time to pop in a few new perennials and let them get a head start on spring. Check the herb garden to see what you might be able to add this fall. The herb selection is extensive.

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