Western Mountains and High Plains

November, 2008
Regional Report

Clean Up Perennials

If you desire, cut back perennials killed by frost to within a few inches of the ground. If the foliage is not diseased, pitch the trimmings into the compost pile. Then, once there's cold in the ground, mulch plants with some coarse compost or other organic mulching material.

Leaf Disposal

Make good use of fallen leaves by recycling them to the garden. Run the mower over leaf accumulations in the lawn and collect the bounty in the catcher bag. Add this raw organic material to the annual flower and vegetable garden and gently work it into the soil by spading or rototilling. The fall and winter moisture and alternate thawing and freezing action will transform the leaves into rich, composted organic matter for the soil.

Store Tender Bulbs

If you haven't already, you still have time in most areas to dig up gladiolus, dahlias, begonias, and other tender summer-flowering bulbs and corms. Gently shake off loose soil and store in lightly moistened sphagnum peat or sawdust in a frost-free garage or very cool basement.

Prepare Tender Roses

Stockpile some well-drained potting soil or garden loam near the rose garden. As the ground begins to cool and stay cold you can take some of this soil and mound several inches around the base of hybrid tea and other grafted rose bushes. Avoid disturbing the soil in the rose garden for use as a mulch as it can expose the roots to cold and desiccation.

Grow Bulb Gardens Indoors

Take advantage of the spring-flowering bulb sales and close-outs. It's still a good time to pot up tulips, daffodils, hyacinths, and others for indoor spring gardens. Water in well and store in an old refrigerator or other cold area for up to 12 weeks or so, and then bring them indoors to bloom in winter.

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