It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Or not. Some people really love the holidays and decorating and gift giving (and receiving) and all the family time. Some people would rather have an un-medicated root canal. No matter what your view of the season is, there are still things that can be done outside on those wonderful sunny days that we occasionally get. (more…)
Saturday, November 15th, 2014 | ETMV | No Comments
The countdown to the holidays has begun, and that means it is time for me to give you some information about the plants you will be buying or receiving as gifts. Some of you don’t do so well with them, and then you feel like a bad person and I don’t want you to feel that way. Let’s face it: some plants are just persnickety.
Here’s the scoop: (more…)
What an interesting fall we have had! September was the driest on record, and October has started out with a very early frost (Oct 4th, versus the normal Oct 17th) and quite a bit of rain. Rumor has it that we will have a colder and wetter winter than normal, but who really knows? While I cannot predict what the future will hold, I can tell you things that you can do in your yard this month (more…)
Monday, October 13th, 2014 | ETMV | No Comments
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.
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.
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.
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…)
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.
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…)