Monthly Garden Gossip

Petals from the Past
November, 2010

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

Time has come to check out your winter cloth and have it ready when below freezing temperatures are expected. Although satsumas, kumquats and Meyer Lemons are hardy to about 18 degrees, it is best to cover all the citrus when the temperature is 28 degrees. This is the temperature at which the fruit will freeze. Place the winter cloth over your trees and place some large pans of water underneath the cloth; the water will release heat during the night, raising the temperature under the freeze cloth by several degrees. You can also use the freeze cloth on your vegetable garden. The pans of water are not necessary in the garden since the earth releases heat during the night. The cloth is sold in a 15 X 15 foot section for $25.00. Larger pieces are available upon request. With proper care the cloth will be usable for several years.

Meyer lemon at Petals with Winter cloth pulled back during a warmer period.

Our supply of spring bulbs has arrived and there is a great selection of narcissus, species tulips, leucojum (snowdrops for the south) and many more. Plant your bulbs before January for spring flowers. Shop early for the best selection.
Now is the time to start forcing paper white narcissus and amaryllis 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. 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 flower

Paperwhites for Christmas Color

Citrus trees can be sprayed with ultra fine oil mixed with Neem oil.  This helps to control greasy spot and mites

Snap Dragon, California Poppies and Calendulas

The cool season annuals such as Larkspur, bachelor buttons. California poppies, Oriental poppies and corn poppies should be planted between October and January.  Our 2009 seed is now available to sale.  Sow seeds  using a mix of 4 parts sand to 1 part seed to help disperse the seeds evenly.  Prepare your bed by tilling lightly, scatter the sand and seed mixture on the prepared area and water.  Many of these seeds need the cold weather to  germinate.  The California poppies to the left caused quite a stir in the early spring. The seeds are sold the teaspoon or tablespoon depending on the size of the seed for $1.00.
Fall is a good time to collect seed for summer flowering annuals.  Zinnia and Cosmos are good examples.  Pick the seed pods or seeds and place in  a paper bag to dry.  Close the bag when the seeds have dried and shake.  The seeds will fall out.  Store in a cool dry place.  A glass canning jar works well
Don't forget about our Open House. There is a always plenty of goodies to be had as well as wonderful sales on our Christmas decorations. Joins us on Saturday, December 4 from 9 - 5 pm and again on Sunday, December 5 from 1-5pm for some Christmas Cheer.

Pansies can still be planted. Better hurry though the selection is getting limited. Plant them in full sun to light shade in a slightly acid soil. 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. Watering pansies will vary with the season. You will have to water more in the fall and spring and less in the winter months when it is cooler and the ground stays moist longer. Plant snapdragons now also.Snap off the flower spikes about 2" above the soil line this will make a fuller plant. In spring you will be surprised how many flower spikes the plant will have.

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