Petals from the Past

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Monthly Garden Gossip

November, 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

Prepare for Frost

It won't be long until we have a killing frost. Actually about this time of the year I am really looking forward to one.

No matter, it is always a good idea to check to make sure you are prepared for frosty weather. Check your freeze cloth to make sure it is in good condition. If it needs replacing do it now so it will be there when you need. it.

We use this cloth to cover our citrus trees and any other frost tender plants. I use it in my vegetable garden to cover my lettuces. Citrus trees should be covered when the temperature is going to be 28 degrees or below. If there is fruit on the tree it will freeze at 32 degrees.

If this is the first year that your citrus trees are planted in the ground, make sure that you have a frame around them to support your winter cloth. Anywhere that the cloth touches the plant it will damage the leaves. Dr. Powell makes a frame from PVC pipe and rebar. You can too, just like at our nursery. The excess cloth should be weighted down with cinderblocks or rocks. It can also be rolled in landscape timbers or metal pipe. You don't want it to blow off exposing your trees to the cold and wind. If you have an electrical source nearby you could also place a light in side the frame which would give off additional heat.

This fabric is breathable and can be left on the trees for several days during a cold spell. It should be removed when the temperatures are above freezing to give your tree a chance to get direct sun.

Cover Cloth Frame

Cover cloth frame

Cover cloth

Cover Cloth on the Frame

This cloth can be purchased at the nursery. It comes in 15 and 30 foot widths. We have some 15 x 15 foot lengths already cut. The cost is $25.00. However, we will custom cut any length you need.

Salvia Madrensis

Salvia madrensis, often called forsythia sage, is the plant you are looking for if you need some late fall color. It blooms from September until frost in sun or part shade. Make some room for it though because it likes to wander and will grow to be 5 to 6 feet tall with spikes of buttery yellow flowers. If it gets out of bounds it is easy to pull up the offending plants.

 

Tiny Princess

Camellias

Camellias love our southern climate as a matter of fact the state flower of Alabama is the camellia. Fall is an excellent time to plant them especially since many are flowering now and you can see what you are getting.

Camellias are long lived evergreen trees or shrubs with glossy green leaves and flowers in fall and winter. They like to be planted in part shade but as they mature they are able to tolerate more sun. They perfer a slightly acid soil and do not tolerate wet feet.

Fertilize with an acid forming azalea and camellia fertilizer in spring.

Pansies

Pansies are a cool season favorite. They come in so many colors it is hard to choose which one to plant. Pansies will bloom through the winter and put on a big show in spring. They can freeze solid, thaw out and just keep on going.

Remember to use a water soluble fertilizer 15-3-20, 15-3-30, 13-2-13 are some suggested ratios. Avoid slow release fertilizers since they are less effective in the cooler weather. Blood meal is also a good organic fertilizer for pansies.

Snapdragons

Snapdragons should also be planted in the fall here in the south. It is best to break of any flowers that are on the plant when you purchased it. This will produce a much fuller plant in the spring with many flowers. Plant them in full sun to light shade. Regular deadheading will keep them blooming longer and mulching will keep the roots cool for a longer bloom time.

Snapdragons

Flowers for the Holiday

Paperwhite narcissus and Amaryllis can be started now for the holidays. Paperwhites need no pre-chilling, they may be planted in potting mix or gravel and water. Give them plenty of strong sunlight to keep them compact. Should they get leggy, make a cage of grape vine to support your leaves and flower stems for a natural effect. The paperwhite bulbs can be discarded once they finish blooming or you can plant them in the border, however it will take several years before they re-bloom. Plant rye grass in the soil of your containers to give added interest.

Amaryllis can also be planted in soil or gravel and water. We think they do best in soil.

Paperwhite Narcissus

They will flower first and then produce leaves. Let the leaves develop and when they die back take your bulb out of the dirt and give it a rest. Plant it again next year in November for Holiday flowers.

Don't burn all the fall leaves compost them! I till them straight into my vegetable garden and by spring they are compost. Start cleaning up your perennial border in preparation for winter. Cut back any dead or dying plants.

Take time to drain your garden hoses and winterize irrigation pipes so they won't freeze and break.

Join us for Christmas Open House

November 18 from 9-5 and Sunday, Novmber 19, from 1-5 are the dates of this year's Open House. JQ's one man band will be with us again this year making spirits bright with his Christmas songs.

Debbie Boutelier will conduct a Holiday Workshop on Saturday November 18 at 1:00pm. Check out our Event Page for details.

Pat and I will be cooking up a storm for this event. Stop by for some treats as well as the many items that will be on sale.

JQ One Man Band

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