Sunday, September 16, 2007


The Birds & Blooms magazine has asked me to insert my blog on their page. I'm delighted to be doing that, beginning today.
I must say that Nature has decided to deal me a tough hand for my first Posting. The weather man says that tonight we will have a sustained, and heavy FREEZE! That limits my choices for topics to discuss here. However, just like you, I'm a gardener and we're a resilient bunch (aren't we?). It just brings us to the next season. It seems to me it's a bit early, but then I think that every year! It never fails, Spring is late and Autumn is early. Why do you think that is?
So, what can you do after a heavy freeze? First, let's define a heavy freeze. It's not a "frost" which comes and goes with nary a threat. But when we get a HEAVY and SUSTAINED FREEZE, we're looking at some real changes in the garden.
Be prepared to see your annuals looking black. The hosta will be droopy and look a bit like frozen lettuce. Yuk! Depending on just how hard the freeze is, your marigolds may even be nipped. If this happens, and sooner or later it will, buck up, it's just time for the next step out there.
By time you get outside to check all this damage, the sun will have reappeared and it will be relatively warm again. So, get ready to do a bit of gardening.
  • Pull out all the annuals that have turned "black".
  • If there are perennials whose leaves look like the annuals ("black"), they can be gently pulled off the plant as well.
  • Toss all of that debris into the compost. If there is any diseased material, put that in the garbage. You don't want to have diseases spread all over the garden in the spring. The same applies to insect damage.
  • If you haven't done so already, bring in all the houseplants being sure to check them first for insects and disease. Give them a good washing!
  • It's a good time to collect some soil for sending off to the Extension Service at your local Land Grant College or University.
  • Water your plants, shrubs and trees deeply to avoid winter stress. They will thank you for that by flourishing in the spring.
Next time we'll talk about some other chores for this time of year. Let's hope we were lucky, and the "freeze" was just a "frost". I'll have a few more ideas for you in a few days.


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