By: Pat Cordray
Okay, this is the first time that I have to say this, but I will repeat it each month until spring has sprung. You ready? Here you go: What to do if there is a freeze warning for our area? Water your plants; this protects the roots, so water thoroughly, not just for 60 seconds. Cover your plants tenting the fabric to the ground then secure it with pegs. Once the weather warms up remove the fabric. For hanging baskets, take them in or set them on the ground, water and cover them. For plants in containers, take them in or water and cover. These instructions are for plants that are tender to the cold. This doesn’t freeze proof your tender plants but it will help add just a little warmth and that may be all that is needed to save a plant. It is better to be prepared than scrambling around at the last minute trying to find your cold weather gardening supplies. So, place your N-Sulate cloth and pegs where you can find them. No worries if you don’t have any, we have all you need in stock at the nursery now. You’re ready!
November can be a great gardening month here, especially for certain flowering plants; like bulbs, annuals, herbs, and camellias. I love all this beautiful color, let’s get the planting started!
Bulbs are here and are ready to be planted. For forcing inside your home, ziva narcissus, amaryllis, and hyacinths will look beautiful and give your home a festive look for the holiday season. The ziva’s will bloom in 3-4 weeks, the amaryllis bulbs take 3-8 weeks to bloom (depending on variety), and the hyacinths will bloom in 6-8 weeks. You can stagger your plantings to keep fresh flowers blooming in your home all season. When the amaryllis are finished blooming indoors you can replant them in your garden for blooms the following spring. Fun, fun, fun! But don’t stop there, we have many different amaryllis bulbs, tulips, ranunculus, daffodils, Dutch iris, leucojum, lycoris, and other varieties of narcissus besides ziva’s that are just as fun!
When to plant your bulbs? Tulips can be planted from mid-December through mid-January, they must be refrigerated for 4-6 weeks at about 45 degrees before planting. We keep our tulips and hyacinths in the fridge so they will be ready to plant at the right time. Daffodils, Dutch iris, leucojum, narcissus, hyacinths, and ranunculus can be planted this month. To learn more about bulbs, come to our Bulb Class on Saturday, November 19th. This class will be hands on, we are going to layer the bulbs in a pot and top it with annuals. You won’t want to miss this one.
How about beautiful color now? Cool weather plants like pansies, lobelia, alyssum, violas, stock, calendulas, snapdragons, English daisies, cyclamen, phlox, petunias, nasturtiums and dianthus can add wonderful fall and winter color to your containers and landscapes. Did I mention how beautiful dianthus looks with my dog, Julep? What do you think? Don’t forget to add sweet peas, foxglove, holly hocks, and delphinium for early spring color, to your garden, there is no time like the present. Full sun, well-draining soil, water, and Microlife are all that is needed to keep these cool weather plants blooming for months.
This would also be a good time to plant herbs in your garden; the cold weather makes for strong roots. Oregano, salad brunet, winter savory, chamomile, dill, rosemary, and fennel are just a few of a long list of herbs to consider planting now. Most herb plants need full sun and well-draining soil. Give your plants plenty of room in the garden, when you buy herbs in a 4” container you may think, “Oh, good a small plant”, but no, no, no, herbs are bigger than you think. Herbs will add a whole new dimension to your garden with fragrant leaves that attract beneficial insects and many can be used to enhance the flavor of your meals. Fertilizer is only needed a couple of times of year. Oh, so easy and very fragrant.
Camellias have some of the most amazing blooms of any shrub. Can you believe that the blooms are prettier than the pictures? They are, wow! Camellias are slow growing evergreen shrubs that bloom from about October through March depending on the variety. Sasanqua camellias bloom in the fall and have small leaves and flowers, usually the flower forms are single, double or semidouble. Sasanqua camellias grow to about 10-12 feet tall for upright varieties and 2-5 feet tall for spreading varieties. Japonica camellias have larger
leaves and usually have bigger blooms. The forms of the Japonica Camellia blooms are usually single, semidouble, anemone, peony, rose, or formal double. Japonica camellias start off as shrubs, growing to about 6-12 feet tall and wide, but can slowly become a tree reaching 20 feet tall.
Camellias are easy to grow here and are just too beautiful to not be included in your garden. For the healthiest plants, with the most blooms, give your camellias good organic soil that drains well, regular water, and a fertilizer for acid loving plants. Protect them from our afternoon sun and strong winds and prune them at the right time, just after they finish blooming. Your camellias will be simply beautiful.
November is so alive with vibrant color to enjoy,