Creating an English garden from scratch here in the deep south

window basketsRoses can be planted any time of the year that you can get a spade in the ground.  Be careful when purchasing knockouts.  My knockout roses are diseased with the rose rosette “nasty” and it looks like I will have to dig them out.  I think I may have bought a diseased one that contaminated my others.  I can’t remember which nursery I was at but I was watching the assistant cut off the heavy gnarled overgrowth that the disease produces.  I was oblivious to the cause at the time and enquired as to the origin of the overgrowth.  I was misinformed that it was nothing more that a growth spurt and you merely trim them off….that information may have cost me 30 or more rose bushes. 🙁

Greenery for the cooler days. Not sure that this will survive the winter, but it’s going strong right now. Busy time of the year both in and out of the garden. Time for yard clean up.There’s still time to plant bulbs.  Keep an eye open for “special prices.”  There are plenty to be found.  Just make sure that the bulbs are firm and not mushy.  Mushy doesn’t grow!

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Remember to protect all young trees from rabbit damage.  Apply oil sprays for scale prevention.  If you haven’t mulched, there’s still time.  Use your raked leaves, pine straw or a wood chip of choice. Plant your pecans, other deciduous trees and grapes.  Start pruning of dormant established fruit trees.  Plant all other trees now before the hard frost so you can get them in the ground and establish a root mass before the spring comes and warm weather.  We just bought three super nice river birch and two large dogwoods from Huntsville Wholesale Nursery on Johnson Rd.  They have some really good deals and Stephen, the manager, is very helpful.  (W) 256-885-1663.

You can still plant pansies and viola.  Contrary to popular belief, dianthus often bloom this time of year.  Granted, they die back somewhat after a hard frost and they are supposed to be annuals.  Mine are doing extremely well and have began to form a really neat boarder on a couple of the flower beds that leaves them almost maintenance free!  I have packed violas into my window boxes along with ivy and dwarf conifers.  They look really good and remind me of home and my time in Germany and Austria.

My biggest garden fan!

If you have any winter veggies, you will be able to pick them through the month.  If you have pulled everything, then pile all of your compost onto the veggie bed and dig it in during the spring.

Next week is a good time to cut holly and evergreens for use on wreaths and displays.  I will cut a little for indoors; but unless giving a display as a gift, I prefer to leave them right where they are and enjoy them in the garden.

I also give rosemary topiaries and dwarf conifers, paper whites, amaryllis and cyclamen as gifts.  I still have poinsettias from last year and my Christmas cactus will be right on cue in full bloom in time for the holiday week!  If you don’t have a compost bin, you might want to add one to your Christmas list.  While you are there, add a rain barrel…Earth Fare on Highway 72, University Dr. can help you out there.  Recycle, recycle, recycle and don’t forget the birds, keep feeders full.

It’s raining hard today and has been for 48 hours.  Once the rain has stopped, and the ground has dried up, I will clean up the last dead growth in my flowerbeds and rake up the dead leaves.  I love being outside and this time of year is no exception.  Have a good one.  Enjoy!

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