October 2014 ETMV

October is one of my favorite months. I think of it as the month that summer goes out in a blaze of glory! Leaves turn yellow and orange and red until it looks like entire hillsides are aflame. I also love cooler temps and bonfires and cider and sweaters and all the stuff that goes along with fall.

Everything Knoxville Oct 2014

This is the time of year when I am grateful to live in a part of the country that has four seasons. Spring will probably always be my favorite, but fall is a close second. I love fall colors and fall clothes and fall food. I love walking the dogs when it is cool enough to wear a hoodie, but not cold enough to wear a coat. I love going to the farm and seeing the mountain behind the house glowing with red maples. Yep, definitely a close second!
October is also one of the best gardening months, so I have plenty to talk about.

Protecting Plants from a Freeze

Old Man Winter isn’t finished with us yet! There is a freeze in the forecast, so you will need to protect your plants.

1. Cover them up! You can use sheets, blankets, towels, boxes, buckets or milk jugs with the bottom cut out. Plastic can be used, but it shouldn’t touch the plants. In fact, since it is going to be raining and fabric gets heavy, it is a good idea to make a tent regardless of what you are using. You can use branches, stakes, or tomato cages as tent poles. A layer of fabric covered with plastic is a good idea.

2. Areas that are too large to cover can be mulched with pine straw piled loosely around the plant.

3. It is not sufficient to simply throw a sheet over plants if the temperature drops into the 20s. Your purpose is to hold in the heat from the ground, so the covering should be anchored to the ground with rocks or bricks.

4. If you are truly desperate to save a plant, you can use Christmas lights to provide heat. Use lights and extension cords that are made for the outdoors! Put the lights on or near the plant, then construct your tent.

Good luck!

Winter Damage to Plants

This has been a long, cold winter and we are all ready for Spring! Some of you, however, are being overzealous in removing winter damaged plants. Yes, I know how bad some of them look. My loropetalum is as brown as mud and there are lots of winter burned leaves on my camellia. If you will be patient, however, many of your plants will leaf back out or come back from the roots. It may be as late as June before we know for sure which plants will recover. (more…)

Winter damage on plants

Have you had a chance to walk around in your yard yet? We have had a couple of days of above freezing temps, so I did manage to spend a few minutes checking things out at home. It isn’t pretty! My loropetalums are brown, my azaleas are sad, my lenten roses look terrible, and even my nandinas are showing stress. I need to cut back my roses and clean out my perennial beds. I am crossing my fingers that we will have a sunny day with temperatures in the 50s soon so that I can get out and do some weeding, cleaning and pruning.

Your plants are cold too!

Brrrr! I don’t understand how people from cold climates stand these frigid temperatures. I walked the dogs this morning for about 20 minutes and I thought my fingers were going to fall off! On the way back into the house, I looked at my poor shrubs and perennials and just sent a mental “I’m so sorry” out to them.  My camellias and rhododendrons have curled up, leaves are brown on many of my shrubs, (more…)