Let’s Talk About November, 2017

By: Pat Cordray

November is here and with it there is the hope that the hot temperatures will skedaddle on out of here.  It may not happen right away but the hope is real.  As far as gardening is concerned, November is a fantastic time to be outside and be busy in the garden. This month we could have our first freeze of the season so I want to refresh your cold weather plant protecting skills. If we have a freeze warning for our area, first water your plants; this protects the roots, so water thoroughly, not just for 60 seconds.  Next, cover your plants tenting the fabric to the ground then secure it with pegs.  Once the weather warms up remove the fabric. Use fabric made to protect plants or use fabric to cover the plant and plastic to cover the fabric, like a windbreaker.   For hanging baskets, take them in or set them on the ground, water and cover.  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 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.  The Nursery usually keeps these supplies in stock if needed.

The color plants for this season have some of the most vibrant blooms.  Plus, there are bulbs to start,


herbs to add to your garden and my favorite, camellias that are blooming.  This is a very exciting gardening month.  I can’t wait to get started.

Thinking of adding some of those vibrant flowers to your garden?   Cool weather plants like pansies, lobelia, alyssum, violas, stock, calendulas, snapdragons, English daisies, cyclamen, phlox, petunias, nasturtiums and dianthus are just the ticket.  What a great way to add the wonderful fall and winter color to your containers and landscapes. You might also add sweet peas, foxglove, holly hocks, and delphinium for early spring color.  Full sun, well-draining soil, water and Microlife are all the ingredients needed to keep these cool weather plants blooming for months.

It is bulb time.  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 bulbs are finished blooming indoors you can replant them in your garden for blooms the following spring. No need to 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 beautiful!

When to plant your bulbs?  Tulips can be planted from mid-December through mid-January, they must be refrigerated for 4-6 weeks 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 11th.
November is also 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. You can plant them in with your ornamentals or in a garden by themselves.  Where ever you decide to plant, give your herbs plenty of room in the garden, they can be bigger than you think.   Herbs will add a whole new dimension to your garden with fragrant leaves that attract beneficial insects.   Many can also be used to enhance the flavor of your meals and for use in potpourri.   Fertilizer is only needed a couple of times of year. Herbs can be an easy addition to any garden.
Camellia Buds
Camellias have some of the most amazing blooms of any shrub. Prettier than a picture.  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 semi double.  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, semi double, 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 their beauty is hard to beat.  For the healthiest plants with the most blooms give your camellias good organic soil that drains well, regular water, 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.  Simply beautiful.