Lockerly is partnering with professors and students in the GCSU Art Department for our first Art in the Arboretum during the month of October. Students and art classes will be visiting the Arboretum and Rose Hill and create artwork that reflects the beauty of this setting. Students working in all kinds of mediums are invited to submit their work to the Arboretum by October 29th.
Early next year we will host an exhibit of GCSU student artwork in Rose Hill. Following the exhibit here, we will work with local businesses so the artwork can be displayed throughout the community. If your business would like to display some of the work that is submitted by GCSU students, contact Lockerly’s Executive Director, Katherine Cummings, at email@example.com or call 478.452.2112.
October Garden Tips
As we begin the month of October I am just completing my first month at Lockerly Arboretum as the new Horticulture Director. Having lived and worked a little further north in Virginia and North Carolina, I feel at home surrounded by the pine trees and magnolias that grow in Middle Georgia.
October can be a busy month for yards and gardens. It’s that time of year when mums and pansies are on our minds and stores are visited by witches and monsters. Many of you will soon begin your search for fun and colorful fall decorations.
After you pick or purchase that perfect pumpkin for Halloween, Thanksgiving or making pies, there are several things you can do to make it last. Dip that perfect pick in a 10% bleach and water solution (1 part bleach to 9 parts water). The bleach will kill the bacteria that causes your pumpkin to rot. Place it on a piece of cardboard to keep it from making direct contact with the ground, sidewalk or porch surface.
Cooler weather is finally setting in. Expect our first frost in early November. When frost is forecast, towels and blankets placed over shrubs and annuals keep moisture from settling on the leaves and freezing.
Fall vegetable gardens also need some extra protection. If you still have tomatoes on the vine, pick full sized tomatoes, including green ones, prior to frost and ripen indoors. To protect fall crops from cabbageworms and other caterpillars, use weekly applications of Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt). Bt is a naturally occurring bacterium that kills insects but is safe for people and wildlife. Bt can be purchased under the trade name of Dipel or Thuricide.
Floating row covers, hoop houses and cold frames can extend the growing season by several weeks. These types of covers trap the heat that rises from the ground during the night. Floating row covers are placed over the garden and anchored to the ground to hold it in place. Hoop houses are made from PVC bent into semi-circles with plastic or fabric draped over them. Cold frames can be constructed using wood, cinder blocks or bails of straw and an old window or glass door. Hoop houses and cold frames should be vented during the day to regulate the temperature and prevent moisture build up under the cover.
Begin to think about things you can do to make your gardens more successful next year. Cleaning up gardens and flowerbeds now will help prevent diseases in the future. Leaving diseased foliage and plant material lying around will lead to next year’s infections. Remove and destroy diseased materials. Do not put them in your compost bin.
If you don’t garden in the fall, consider planting a cover crop. Rye is a great cover crop for gathering and holding unused nitrogen in the soil. Rye also brings potassium up through the soil profile to increase potassium levels near the soil surface. The fibrous roots of Rye will increase soil drainage. Rye acts like a natural herbicide to inhibit the germination of some weeds. A crop of rye will also outcompete light sensitive annual weeds such as pigweed and chickweed. Incorporating Rye into the soil in the spring will add organic matter, which improves the soil structure, increases infiltration and water folding capacity, and increases the soils ability to store plant nutrients.
Crimson clover and alfalfa are members of the legume family. They can also be planted with rye. Legumes enrich the soil by converting nitrogen in the air to an inorganic form of nitrogen usable by plants. In the spring, cover crops should be mowed and tilled under at least 30 days prior to planting the garden. These plants will also add some color to your garden space during the shorter gray days of winter.
If you have questions about things you want to plant, or what you may have growing in your yard that you can’t identify, I would be glad to help you. If you want to learn by volunteering in the Arboretum gardens, please contact me. We welcome all skill levels. Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at 478-452-2112
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If you shop at Kroger and have a Kroger card, your trip to pick up groceries can benefit Lockerly programs every time you use your Kroger card. Please sign into your Kroger account and choose Lockerly as your Community Rewards recipient. Thank you for supporting Lockerly when you buy groceries
September Garden Tips
September 1, 2015
Recent mornings and evenings are finally bringing some relief from the heat and humidity of summer. It is always nice to look at the changes in the fluffy white clouds and the bit of crispness in the morning air and know that fall will soon be upon us. September is a great time to enjoy your garden. There are several tasks that you can do now that will help your garden be more successful.
Weeds such as Chickweed, Annual Bluegrass and the very plentiful, and some believe attractive,Henbit, germinate in the fall but wait until winter to start invading your turf and beds. Mid-September is a good time to apply a pre-emergence weed preventer. Many of these are available in a granular or liquid application. Be sure to choose a product that is approved for your type of grass.
Remove dead growth from trees or shrubs but do not prune either of these in September. Pruning sends a message to the plant to put out new growth. If this growth does not have time to “harden off” before our first frost, it will likely be killed and can severely damage the plant. The process of “hardening off” is a transition period where new foliage is exposed to wind, sun and rain to toughen up the leaves and make them more able to withstand their new life. This process is also necessary when starting plants from seeds. The new seedlings need time outdoors before being planted in the ground.
Do you have perennial Lantana in your garden? It is such a wonderful plant. There are so many new cultivars on the market that come back year after year (perennial) and require minimum care. Plant it in full sun and it will give you a wonderful display of color and attract butterflies throughout the summer. Now is the time to catch it on sale in the garden centers as it is winding down its floral display. Remember to leave the dead foliage on the lantana plants all winter until the new plants start emerging in the spring. Cutting off those tubular dead plant shoots in the winter will allow water to settle and freeze the plant crown, which often results in winter kill.
Fall is also a great time to divide perennials such as iris, daylilies and coneflowers. Perennials need to be divided and transplanted to keep them healthy and blooming. Cut the foliage back about one-half before transplanting.
The garden centers will be a buzz with bags of daffodils, hyacinth and other spring blooming bulbs along with flats of winter annuals like popular pansies. If you can’t resist buying them now, store bulbs in a cool dry area. Wait until late October or early November, when night-time temperatures are consistently in the 60 degree range, before planting them.
The vegetable garden is probably about exhausted from the summer heat and lack of regular rain. Bell peppers may still keep producing until frost so keep them alive. If your tomatoes are still healthy, you might still get a few fruit now that the temperatures are down. Otherwise, it is a great time to clean up debris from the garden and prepare your list for winter vegetables such as cabbage, lettuce, spinach, turnips, carrots, broccoli, and the list goes on. One great thing about living in the South is our ability to grow healthy home grown vegetables almost all year long.
If this list is just overwhelming and your time is too short to get these things accomplished, let me give you the most important task for the September garden; Get out of the house and enjoy the world of plants. Visit Lockerly Arboretum to see a variety of plants that will do well in our climate. Make your list and get ready for fall planting in October and November.
Chair, Lockerly Plant Collection Project
Master Gardener Volunteer Coordinator, Putnam County Extension Office
Calendar of Events
photo by Charlie Miller,
Mark your calendar for our Holiday Party on Friday, December 4th, from 5:00-7:00 pm, and Rose Hill Holiday Guided Tours on Saturday, December 5th from 10:00-2:00. Tickets go on sale for both events next month.