Mid-Atlantic

October, 2000
Regional Report

Plant Blue-Flowered Bulbs


For gardeners who love blue flowers, the so-called minor spring bulbs offer a special opportunity for indulgence. Consider carpeting an area with dozens of these small but brightly colored bulbs: Siberian squill (Scilla siberica), striped squill (Puschkinia libanotica), grape hyacinth (Muscari sp.), and glory-of-the-snow (Chionodoxa sp.). Plant these bulbs now for an early spring show.

Naturalizing Minor Bulbs


The smaller, minor bulbs look great naturalized in a lawn, but they must be densely planted to make a strong visual impact when they bloom. Luckily, many varieties increase steadily from year to year where happy. To encourage spreading, plant them in a sunny spot with good soil and water drainage and allow the spring foliage to grow and die naturally.

Dig Up Cannas and Dahlias

After the first frost has killed back the tops, use a digging fork to carefully lift tender plants such as cannas and dahlias. When you dig, take care to avoid damaging the underground portions. Remember to anticipate that the rhizome or tuber will be much larger now than it was when you planted it. Cut back the stem to 6 inches, air dry for several days and store them in slightly moistened peat moss in boxes in a cool (40 to 45F) basement.

Apple Harvest and Cleanup

Harvest apples as they ripen, packing them gently into storage boxes to avoid bruising the fruits. Store in a cool location but above freezing. Pick the tree clean. Also pick up and remove windfall apples from the ground to prevent any unwelcome pests or diseases from carrying over to next year.

Pot Up Windowsill Herbs


If you would enjoy snipping a few fresh herbs in January, take time now to dig and pot up a few herbs such as chives, parsley, thyme, and rosemary from your garden to grow on a bright windowsill this winter. Use a well-drained soil mix and trim the herbs frequently to stimulate new growth.

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