Upper South

November, 2009
Regional Report

Plant Alliums

Although it's a bit late to plant the earliest blooming spring bulbs, there's still a few weeks left that the later-blooming ones can be planted, depending upon the weather, of course. Besides tulips, consider some of the ornamental alliums, especially the ones with large flower heads up to 12 inches across. Most of these bloom in May or June. Some of the ones to look for include 'Gladiator', growing 3 to 4 feet tall with 4-inch globes of purple flowers; 'Globemaster', growing 3 to 4 feet tall with 8- to 10-inch flower heads of silvery purple; Star of Persia, growing 18 inches tall with 8- to 12-inch flower heads of amethyst flowers; and 'Purple Sensation', with flower stalks 20 to 30 inches tall and 4- to 5-inch balls of reddish-violet flowers.

Protect Young Trees

When rabbits, mice, and other similar animals get hungry in the winter, the bark on your young fruit and ornamental trees is a prime target. To prevent this kind of damage, first of all, keep all grass and mulch away from the trunk. Then, install an 18-inch-tall collar of chicken wire or hardware cloth around the trunk. Alternate freezing and thawing in the winter can also cause bark to split. To prevent this, paint the trunks with white latex or apply a tree wrap product before putting on the wire collar.

Update Your Garden Journal

It's easy to get behind making notes about your garden during the summer, so now is a good time to catch up. If you took pictures, make a scrapbook. A garden journal doesn't have to be elaborate -- a three-ring notebook works fine. You might want to keep a list of the plants you bought each year. Do a search online about each plant and print out the best page describing it. Then, you can make notes on that page. There are also software programs for garden journaling. The method doesn't matter as much as taking the time to keep up with it.

Start Amaryllis Bulbs

Nothing makes a more spectacular holiday display than blooming amaryllis. Buy the bulbs now and plant them, as it usually takes six to eight weeks for them to bloom. Use a good quality potting soil. The weight of clay pots, rather than plastic, keeps the blooming bulbs from being top heavy. Choose a pot that is about 2 inches wider than the fattest part of the bulb. Plant the bulb so that half of it is above the soil line. Red-flowered varieties are most popular for the holidays, but don't overlook the pink, orange, white, and bi-colored ones.

Don't Worry About Dropping Needles

Pines, yews, junipers, arborvitae, and other evergreen conifers naturally shed some of their needles in the fall. These make a great mulch, not only for the plants from they fall but also for acid-loving plants, such as blueberries, rhododendrons, and azaleas. Some conifers are deciduous, meaning they drop all their needles in the fall. These include larch and bald cypress.

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