Coastal and Tropical South

January, 2007
Regional Report

Aerate Wet and Sloppy Compost

Compost piles or piles of leaves left to rot on their own or in plastic bags can be overwhelmed by excessive rains as we have faced in parts of our region. Turn wet piles with a pitchfork (not a shovel) to get maximum aeration and drying. Open bags for a dry day or two.

Prevent Petal Blight

If this year's camellia flowers were browned or opened only slightly, then fell off, take action now. Petal blight is a fungus that infects these flowers, brought on by wet weather and aggravated by poor garden sanitation in previous years. Clean up the dropped petals and rake the area clean.

Rejuvenate Cast Iron Plant

The common name of cast iron plant (Aspidistra elatior) explains its character. Cast iron plants endure droughts and floods, and can be ignored for years. Eventually, though, the leaf tips get shredded or whole plants turn yellow. Now's the time to cut them back, thin them out, and share with friends.

Clean Tools

Take a half hour now to clean up tools of all sorts. Clean blades of shovels and trowels with soapy water if needed, then dry, oil, and sharpen each one. Plunge the clean heads into a bucket of dry sand to protect them until you need them.

Use Jute Twine for Trellises

Garden gurus tell us to always and only use jute string to tie plants to trellises. It's flexible, does not restrain growth, decomposes if left to rot, and is easily removed. Perhaps more important: tie only to the front of the structure for easy access and best display.

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