Upper South

October, 2000
Regional Report

Fall Amaryllis Care


Bring potted amaryllis plants indoors and place the pots on their sides in a dark, cool, dry location. Let the pot dry out - do not water. When new growth starts, set the pot upright, start watering and feeding again, and bring it gradually into a location that has bright, indirect light. The amaryllis bulb should produce spectacular flowers during the winter months.

Gather Flower Seeds


Seeds of many annual garden flowers such as calendula and nicotiana naturally self sow. For a more contained spread, consider gathering the seed and replanting where you want them. Cut the heads into a brown paper sack; as the heads dry, the seeds will fall into the bottom. Store the seeds in an envelope or empty film canister in a cool, dry location for sowing seeds next spring.

Gather Bittersweet Vines


The bright orange berries of bittersweet are a natural for fall decorating indoors and out. If you don't already grow this vine, consider planting one either this fall or next spring. Choose the American bittersweet (Celastrus scandens), rather than the oriental bittersweet (C. orbiculatus), which can become invasive.

Fertilize Rhubarb


Rhubarb will produce more stems than usual next spring if you work in composted manure around the plants now. A shovelful per established plant is plenty. You can also set out new plants this fall. Some of the best varieties, with stems that are red all the way through, are 'Canada Red', 'Chipman's Canada Red', 'Cherry Red', and 'Valentine'.

Start Feeding Birds


It's not too soon to start feeding the birds this winter. Clean birdfeeders thoroughly. If you need new ones, consider the kind with squirrel baffles to keep those pests away. Black oil sunflower seeds are the most popular feed. If you don't like the garden mess, buy prehulled sunflower seeds. Try putting out niger seed for goldfinches and suet blocks for woodpeckers.

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