For zone 4 and 5, Albany, NY. Calendar, Local garden, Lilacs, roses, edible garden, etc. Date or time of year is in red for my area. It may be different in yours. Blue is a hyperlink, green is a proposed hyperlink. At Azalea House Flowering Shrub Farm we grow Old Roses, Classic Lilacs and Native Azalea's (or Rhododendrons) to sell retail during our Plant Sale. To search click edit and find in your browser. If the thumbnails dont open click here.


As I edit the statistics report from my server I update web pages with particular activity adding new pictures and comments from the picture-newsletter.

IN WINTER: On Rhododendrons that didn't produce many flower buds apply granular phosphate

(Espoma single phosphate is 0-20-0, Espoma tripple phosphate is 0-48-0).

IN WINTER: When the veins of Rhododendron leaves are dark green within the lighter green of the rest of the leaf it often indicates a magnesium deficiency that can be overcome by watering with a mixture of one tablespoon of epsom salts per two gallons of water later in the year. A magnesium deficiency will, later on cause the edges and tips of the leaf to turn brown.

IN WINTER: When the veins of Rhododendron leaves are dark green with a yellow background it may be caused by iron chlorosis and may be temporarily altered by using a foliar spray containing chelated iron (Greer, 10).

Check the soil pH and adjust it to less than 6.
Rolling up of the leaves is caused by freezing temperatures or water stress when temperatures are warm. The leaves will uncurl after the freezing weather is over. If they dont uncurl it indicates a root related problem (perhaps root rot).

We are growing Rosebay Rhododendrons, Pinxter Azalea's and Flame Azalea's ( rhodobuy ) into 3 gallon pots for sale during our Plant Sale. Send me an email and inquire if they will be available. Otherwise you might purchase Mailorder from Harold Greer (a link is at the bottom).

IN JANUARY: Bud damage can occur on grapes where temperatures remain above 50 degrees for a week or more with a return to colder temperatures.

The temperature on January 5, 2005 was 50 above 0.

The cold frame air temperature differential on Saturday morning 1/22/05 at 7:53 AM is ten degrees above zero (inside the coldframe) and five below zero (outside the coldframe) as measured by a taylor indoor-outdoor thermometer attached to the northern end of the exterior of the coldframe, the remote sensor on top of a pot, inside.

The coldframe is heated by exudation of heat from the ground and specific heat from ice, water vapor and water as well as the conversion energy production of one to the other when contained under white poly (all passive).

IN FEBRUARY: Blackeyed Susan or Rudbeckia hirta (a bi-ennial growing 1 to 3 feet tall) is a native of the midwestern United States brought to the east in the 1800's where it became naturalized (there is a clump blooming perennial being marketed under the name of Blackeyed Susan that is not a native of the USA). Start the seed indoors in mid Winter or outdoors in early Spring to mid Summer. Blackeyed Susan was in bloom July 2, 1998 (R).

February 1, 2005, the cold frame differential is 28(o)/26(i) at 2:36 PM. As temperatures rise above freezing the job of the cold frame is to maintain a temperature for as long as possible that the small plants inside can remain dormant at.

IN FEBRUARY: The Gloriosa daisy with flowers up to 5 inches across on plants 2 to 3 feet tall, is a hybrid of Blackeyed Susan that Burpee introduced in the late 1950's. The Gloriosa daisy can be started indoors in mid Winter but outdoors only after all danger of frost is past.

IN FEBRUARY: Start seed on Nicotianas in February or March (maybe 10 to 12 weeks before being set out). After they set several sets of true leaves transplant them into pots. Provide a half strength fertilizer once a week in half a days sun. Plant outdoors after all danger of frost. In later years they will self-sow. I like to use them among other shrubs where they can tolerate part shade and are scented at night.

IN MARCH: Start Leek seeds 8 weeks before last frost in 6 inch pots where temperatures are around 70 in day and 55 at night.

IN MARCH: Prune highbush blueberries by removing the non productive gray wood and leaving the yellow or red productive wood in late Winter to early Spring. Remove buds first year after planting. Feed with Rhododendron and Azalea food. Never use alluminum sulphate on food crops as it can be poisonous.

IN MARCH Scale will apear on apple trees while they are still dormant (note Oystershell scale below).

ON MARCH 24, 2004 and MARCH 23, 2005 Snowdrops (Galanthus nivalis) were blooming at Dads house in Voorheesville, NY.

Oystershell scale is called that because the shell that covers the insect look like miniature oysters about 1/8 of an inch long colored black to ash gray. The scales overwinter in the eggstage (white to yellow in color) attached to twigs. One generation per year devitalizes the plant by sucking its juices. I scrape the scale off the stems with a stick and burn them. A dormant oil can be aplied before the plants bud, smothering the scale. Some people use a systemic insecticide (active ingredient is 4% di-syston) applied every 6 weeks in a granular form on the soil at the base of the plant (kills sucking, chewing or boring insects).

ON MARCH 25, 2004 and MARCH 20, 2005 Pruned Lilacs. At Dads house we have a planting of Lilacs composed of a number of different varieties. The blues are all together, the purples are all together and the pinks are all together to avoid a checkerboard look. The whites are spread out among them. Every year we prune one lilac of each color to the ground so that the flower display is not affected and yet each lilac is likely to be pruned to the ground once every 5 or 6 years. Then all the lilacs are fertilized with Dolomitic Limestone and Espoma plant tone.

ON MARCH 28, 2004 Giant Crocus blooming at Dads in Voorheesville, NY 12186.

Late Winter through May. Take 6 inch root cuttings (pencil size to 3/4 inch) from Rhododendron periclymenoides (Pinxterbloom Azalea). Place them in a ziplock bag with some moist pinebark to prevent the cuttings from drying out. These are to be stuck within several days.

Propagation of American Azalea by root cutting, roots from pencil sized to 3/4 of an inch, ground pine bark, peat and perlite, 1/2 inch of cutting above soil line, in pot, in white plastic bag (stake in bag to keep bag from deflating) Leave some water in bottom to be wicked up (information available from book "American Azaleas" by Towe from Timber Press in Portland, Oregon. USA).

EARLY SPRING Prune Hydrangea paniculata cv 'Grandiflora' back to 4 buds. Requires a good loamy soil and a mulch of composted manure once growth has begun.

SPRING: To correct the pH of your soil by Spring 2006 apply sulfur in the Spring of 2005 or limestone by Autumn of 2005 in the amount suggested in a soil test.

SPRING: Mulch conserves moisture and reduces evaporation up to 90 percent. The soil is cooler in summer and warmer in spring and fall. It moderates erosion by wind and rain, prevents soil compaction, helps eliminate weeds, curbs back splash inoculation, helps release iron or phosphorous and makes the plant less dependent on pH. Mulches help prevent the root ball from freezing entirely which would cause water stress. Mulch provides nutrition through decomposition.

SPRING: Undue warmth prior to blooming can shorten the length of bloom for some Lilacs including S. vulgaris. Scale infestations on Lilacs can occur when a plant is neglected or after the application of fresh manure. So be sure to fertilize with well rotted manure only. Dormant oil can be applied and the scale can be rubbed off with a stick. Lilac canes may also be removed to the ground as long as they are on their own roots. In the past some lilacs have been grafted on privet and If you cut them to the ground they come back as privet.

Are you interested in purchasing our plants retail?

I start to prune repeat blooming roses in spring. The traditional time to prune repeat flowering roses is from mid winter to early spring but remember that; in zone 5 or less prune late, in zone 6 or warmer one can prune earlier except in years when winters are severe. I dont prune modern and repeat blooming roses until after growth buds at mid stem begin to swell. Generally the idea is to prune after the risk of a serious frost is past but before your plants have put on a lot of growth that just has to be cut off. Each type of rose has a different pruning scheme.

The Climbing Rose 'New Dawn' is a Wichuriana Hybrid . As such it repeat blooms but new flower buds form next to previously flowered wood. Most flowers form on laterals (so you must train laterals). Dead growth is all that should be removed (in spring). I also remove the largest cane to the ground (own root) or back to within two feet of the graft. I then fertilize with granular Espoma Rose Tone Fertilizer (follow directions on bag).

APRIL: I like to have a 5 foot piece of remay to throw over tree peonies in order to prevent the emerging buds from being damaged by late frosts.

APRIL 1, 1998 Forsythia Flowered at Yonder Farms

Forsythia hardy to the zone they are currently growing in will sometimes suffer winter damage to the current years flower buds wherever they are not protected by snow. If left to fend for themselves the damage often reverses itself within one or two years. When pruned back to flowering wood they will bloom better the following year. I suggest growing a zone 4 plant in zone 5 or a zone 3 plant in zone 4 etc.

APRIL 14, 2004 & APRIL 15, 2005 Ceylon Narcissus was in bloom at Azalea House. Forsythia in bloom at Yonder Farms.

APRIL 15, 1998 The Rhododendrons 'PJM' and 'Thunder' flowered at Azalea House

APRIL Leaf rollers, green fruit worm and aphids apear on apple trees when there is a half inch of green leaf showing.

APRIL 23, 1998 (Azalea House) Pear psylla apear on apple trees during the pink stage.

APRIL 25, 1995 Forsythia Flowered at Yonder Farms

SPRING 2003 was quite cool and lilacs responded by blooming up to 4 weeks.

MAY: Prune back Potentilla fruticosa by 1/3.

MAY 1, 1997 Forsythia Flowered at Yonder Farms

MAY: Start watering your Poinsettia that was saved from Christmas in mid-May. After it has developed new leaves, plant it outside in the shade.

In May I usually take softwood tip cuttings from my Lilacs at Azalea House. If you check propagation pages you can see my notes on when and how to propagate different plants. You might also check my growing page where I outline the cultural methods we use.

MAY 15, 1997 The Rhododendrons 'PJM' and 'Thunder' flowered at Azalea House

In front of the house at 40 Voorheesville Ave where we have the plant sale (00005frontofhouse050809).

MAY Curculio apear on apple trees when they are in full bloom.

MAY Coddling moth and cherry fruit fly apear on apple trees during or after petal fall.

MAY to JUNE Mites and Rose chafers apear on apple trees after petal fall.

Hard prune a Buddlia (Budlia) late enough in the spring that new growth wont be killed back by a late frost but early enough so that if the winter was mild you dont have to cut off too much new growth.

JUNE: Adult Billbugs will emerge from the soil in late spring and lay eggs on grass stems.

Most of our Old Roses bloom in June. In the future I may list them here with links to pictures.

June 26, 1998 Hemmerocallis fulva was in bloom at Azalea House and along roadsides in the area.

JUNE to JULY Apple maggot flies emerge in order to mate and feed. After a couple of weeks females lay eggs in fruit. reasonable control can be had by hanging yellow sticky traps which capture young flies and the red apple like sticky trap which capture the older ones along with good cleanup of fallen fruit. At Azalea House I put small paper bags around the small fruit and staple the open end carefully around the stem. All clusters have been reduced to a single healthy specimen by the simple expediant of clipping the extras off with a pair of sewing scissors (dont tell my wife).

Thin your grapes in mid-summer. Use long bladed scissors and avoid touching the berries.

In July I start taking semi-mature cuttings from many flowering shrubs including roses.

July to August is Japanese Beatle Time.

Its July 18, 2005 and the Japanese Beatles are everywhere. If you have a natural garden you might not see them because they love the hedgerows which have wild grape and queen anns lace for them to feed upon. I usually cut the flowers off until the beatles disapear then they bloom again better than ever for their forced non-bloom time. The female of the species is attracted to the flower. Her many paramours are interested mostly in her. By cutting the buds off this will occur in the hedgerows instead of in your rose garden.

A plant patent is for 20 years, sometimes costs around 500 dollars, the patented plant becomes public property when its patent has expired. I am always looking for possible sports but plants that cannot be reproduced vegetatively (through cuttings, budgrafting or tissue culture) are unpatentable.

AUGUST I gradually shorten stems of roses in late summer, doing the last pruning of the year on August 15 (6 weeks before frost in the Albany Area) and stop fertilizing.

One of the few weeds we remove is this one that produces an oval seed with a pair of horns that stick to all hair and clothing they come in cotact with. This picture shows it in flower.

Black eyed Susan is a biennial that was spread around the US in hay shipments of the 19th century. The perennial many garden centers sell is from Czeckoslovakia.

AUGUST 15 At Azalea House I start preparing all flowering shrubs in pots to go into the coldframe for winter. This means pruning their canes back on August 15 (6 weeks before frost locally) so they dont interfere with each other when I pack them close together in November.

AUGUST-SEPTEMBER I stop pruning roses two weeks before labor day (six weeks before frost) and stop disbudding. Leaving the seed on the plant helps it go dormant sooner. Watering during this period can help reduce stress.

Drying Flowers Easy to grow, dry and last a long time. Pick flowers just as they reach maturity, in mid-morning a fter the dew has dried but before they start to wilt. A spare bedroom or closet with a dehumidifier works well as a drying room. Secure bunches with a tight rubber band for drying hanging upside down. Allow space between bunches for good air circulation. Drying will take 15 to 20 days at which time the stems will snap when broken.

SEPTEMBER Watermellons are ready when: the stem is brown and dead, the belly of seeded varieties is creamy white (seedless should be golden yellow), the overall shiny green color will have dulled, when thumped (carefull) it produces a low pitched sound.

SEPTEMBER Prune Thyme again a month before frost is expected. Cut the soft growth only, not into the woody part. Root cuttings in unscented clay base cat litter (Edible Garden Article-Thyme).

SEPTEMBER Flowers appear on New England Aster (Aster novae-angliae) and it's relative the Michaelmas daisy (Aster novae-belgii). They can be relied upon to produce masses of color from September on. Full sun and a well-drained soil is best but they are tolerant of diverse conditions. Most become somewhat top heavy and are often staked though I let them topple over and flower the way they like. My preferences are 'Alma Potschke', 'Professor Klippenberg' and 'Harringtons Pink' (Native plants article).

SEPTEMBER Blight is probably the most serious disease a Lilac can get. It is not very common in the eastern United States and Canada. I see it most commonly in the nursery when the plants, having grown larger, have not been properly spaced. New foliage is seen to turn brown and wilt. Prune out stems to provide better circulation of air through the plant. Sterilize pruning tools with bleach. Avoid high nitrogen fertilizers. Apply a 2-2-50 Bordeaux mixture. Burn affected parts that have been removed. Lilac should be fine the following year. Mildew will not harm your Lilac but if you wish to be rid of it 3 pounds of wettable sulfur to 100 gallons of water applied at 3 week intervals (Lilac Article).

SEPTEMBER Culinary Sage can be best propagated from cuttings stuck in the ground in September then transferred to their permanent location in Spring (Thomas, 36).

September 5, 1999 Aster 'Professor Klippenberg' flowered

September 15 Give Poinsettia 8 hours of sun per day. Keep in area free of drafts. Let soil dry out between thorough waterings and don't fertilize.

AUTUMN Honey Bees make the honey they store over winter from goldenrod, aster and Michaelmas daisies. The odor of the nectar of asters is very strong. Dampness is harmful to bees so good air circulation around a hive is essential. Inspection of hives is made in early autumn so that the bees have plenty of time to glue the hives back together again as protection against winter drafts.

AUTUMN When Chrysanthemums are finished blooming don't cut them back because they catch just enough blowing leaves to protect themselves in Winter (remember Nature leaves dead foliage in Winter and so should you). Where the ground freezes in winter mulch helps. Leaves, straw, evergreen branches applied after hard frosts . I've never had a mum come through the winter that hadn't started to produce new growth at the base of the stems before being frosted back.

AUTUMN Plant Garlic The hot taste of super market garlic is nothing like the subtle flavors of many other types grown all over the world. Apply 30 pounds of soybean meal per 100 feet of bed as an amendment to soil before planting. Plant cloves in fall 2 inches deep 8 inches apart with pointed end up. Mulch after planting and remove scapes from hardneck garlic.

AUTUMN Spray the canes of roses with an anti-transpirant while temperatures are still above 50 degrees (sometimes I spray the part that will be cut off next spring with white, water base exterior latex paint thinned 1 part paint and 1 parts water).

AUTUMN The Chinese cabbage family is ideal for fall and winter. Harvest 30-50 days after sowing the seed. They have the ability to germinate and grow in warm weather while tolerating cold conditions. Clip the young plants back as needed to 2 inches then allow them to regrow before clipping again (cut and come again). Germination takes around 5 days. If planted in spring they have a tendency to bolt (Edible Garden Article-Chinese Cabbage).

AUTUMN Rain during ripening may cause the maturing fruit on grape vines to split.

To correct pH by Spring apply dolomite in Autumn or sulfur in Spring.

AUTUMN Rake leaves and bury them. Dig holes for kitchen debris near kitchen outside door and cover so you don't fall in. I dig holes in unplanted spots in the garden and bury leaves. Fruit or diseased leaves should be buried 2 feet down I dig holes using a post hole digger in garden locations near our back door. A rock placed on top protects others from falling in but is easily removed to drop kitchen debris in; vegetable peels etc. When the hole gets too full start another taking the dirt from the second and placing it on top of the first then move the rock to the new one (Fall Cleanup article).

Pruning: what you shouldn't do! Heavy pruning should only be done in late Winter to early Spring. Remember that many trees and shrubs pruned now wont flower next year. The foliage of a few perennials and many shrubs gain in brilliance as Autumn arrives and last well into Winter. I cut back in Spring so as not to miss the show.

Turn off outside water and blow out sprinkler systems or other waterlines above frost line. Bring portable fountains inside for Winter storage. Protect large slabs of concrete such as concrete patio's from frost heave and cracks. We prevent heaving in plants by mulching. Prevent Sunscald by using a white reflective color on the stem. Can we prevent cracking concrete by sealing with light colored sealers and mulching a wide ribbon around the border? Does concrete crack when constantly covered by snow as a light colored insulator?

Bring in houseplants

AUTUMN Mandevilla Sanderi 'Red Riding Hood' stubbornly refuses to stop blooming but is not winter hardy. In fall cut it back and carry indoors before frost. A spacious container, fertile well drained soil, keep above 65 degrees, 20-20-20 every 3 to 4 weeks, in a sunny south facing window. In 2004 I failed to take mine in before frost and it was burned back along with the Hibiscus chinensis right next to it. I cut them both back, put them in a window on the west side of the house that has shade from deciduous trees outside (no leaves at this time). 2 weeks later after regular watering the hibiscus produced new growth. Another week and the Mandevilla showed new growth as well.

Put up Electric Fence Some people have found that the best way to protect their plants in Winter is to put up Electric Fence. It usually takes a couple days in autumn to put it up and a couple more in spring to take it down and pack it away.

Apply Deer Repellent Protect stems of trees with tree tape or screening against rabbits and mice

Bird Watching, Bird Bath Heaters, Bird Feeders Many birds not tempted by feeders can be attracted by water. Keep a birdbath thawed in winter with a heater available through bird supply stores. A diversity of fruiting plants that fruit at different times of the year, layered foliage for cover and different shapes size an d color bring in more different types of birds. Tall Canopy trees, under planted with shade tolerant trees; flowering dogwood, serviceberry. Lower fruiting shrubs such as; winterberry, chokeberry, Small lawns. Shelter from pines, spruces, hemlocks, juniper s and holly.

Brussel Sprouts mature bottom to top-strip the leaves upward as you harvest. If you want brussell sprouts to mature over several months leave top on and you can have sprouts as long as temperature remains above 10 degrees. They taste sweeter ev ery time they are frosted or frozen. O


OCTOBER 4, 1996, NOVEMBER 5, 1998 (EL NEENYO), OCTOBER 3, 2003, OCTOBER 6, 2004 .

Winter of 97 to 98 was real mild.

Powdery mildew may be washed from foliage with a week solution of baking soda, 2 or 3 drops of horticultural oil and water. Sour milk is sometimes applied as an alternative. One solution raises the pH on leaf surface, the other lowers it. Experiment to see what works best for you

AUTUMN Mulch after the ground freezes Mulching conserves moisture and reduces evaporation up to 90%. The soil is cooler in summer, warmer in spring or fall and when you mulch after the ground freezes can prevent premature awakening of the plant during a warm winter or heaving. It moderates erosion by wind and rain, prevents soil compaction, helps eliminate weeds, curbs "back splash inoculation", helps release iron and phosphorous and makes the plant less dependent on pH.

AUTUMN With a large worm population and a healthy soil full of fungi, bacteria and insects the mulch you applied in the spring should have broken down by now. After the ground freezes and plants have gone dormant mulch with 2 or 3 inches of your preferred mulch. If this is applied any thicker it should be decreased in spring or you should plant in "volcanoes" (Planting article).

AUTUMN Cover crops improve soils. The best cover crop grows like a weed but is easy to kill. Cover crops hold nutrients so they can't leach away, prevent weeds through competition, add organic matter when rototilled and prevent erosion. Winter Rye germinates at 33 degrees, growing quickly and tolerating temperatures to -40 degrees F. Plow in two weeks before planting. Annual Ryegrass germinates at 45 degrees. Wheat germinates at 40 degrees. Oats grow well in cool temperatures but are killed by frost providing good mulch. Rape does well in moist soils and can improve drainage by rooting through compacted soils. Buckwheat can be sown at any time spring summer or fall to smother weeds and rots quickly when plowed in. Hairy vetch is a legume and can be planted in August for spring plowing in to provide lots of readily available nitrogen in the soil. Seed vetch and rye together for a better smothering of weeds. Alfalfa has deep roots to loosen the soil and is the best for fixing nitrogen in the soil. White clover is good for interplanting with other crops. Field pea (Pisum arvense or sativus) 6 inches tall, tolerates temps to 10 degrees, best mowed before tilling, Berseem clover (Trifolium alexandrinum) 2 feet tall, tolerates temps to 20 degrees, best mowed first. Crimson clover (Trifolium incarnatum) 18 inches, tolerates to 10 degrees, taproot, best mowed. Fava Beans (Vicia faba) 5 feet or more tall, tolerates to 15 degrees, has taproot, best mowed first. Sunn hemp (Crotolaria juncea) 5 feet, tolerates to 28 degrees, reduces weeds, has taproot and is best mowed before tilling. Cowpeas (Vigna sinensis) 2 feet tall, drought tolerant, reduces nematodes, tolerates to 32 degrees, reduces weeds and should be mowed first. Till all cover crops into soil in spring before flowering. (Edible Gardening Article-Nutrition).

OCTOBER Plant spring flowering bulbs after the first killing frost, then apply a little straw to the area to keep soil temperatures constant. Lack of mulch in areas of no snow is the most common cause of tulip death.

Collect the seedpods from Rhododendron periclymenoides or Pinxterbloom Azalea (look like miniature bananas) as soon as they begin to change color from green to bronze (October), and before they begin to split open to expel seeds. Dry the pods in a bowl at room temperature. The seeds should remain viable for several years.

AFTER THE FIRST KILLING FROST Plant bulbs and other spring flowering perennials. Too often flowers are small, stalks weak, they bloom once and are gone. A little care and planning can keep bulbs blooming throughout the season and the plants coming back year after year. It takes 5 years for a bulb to reach top size. Bargain companies sell bulbs that are only 2 or 3 years old for less but they also aren't old enough to reproduce. The recommended planting time is right after the first killing frost , then apply a little straw to the area to keep soil temps constant. Lack of mulch in areas of no snow is most common cause of tulip death. Also tulips should be dug up every 3 years at least 8 weeks after flowering. Dig in lots of manure to improve aeration and drainage. If you don't have manure use a fertilizer that has 4% of Nitrogen in a slow release or organic form (label might read Espoma Bone Meal 4-12-0 or Bulb Tone 4-10-6)

More information on spring flowering bulbs at bottom. Scroll down.

Paperwhites don't need cooling having already had it from the wholesaler. The potted plants can also be stored outside in a pile buried under leaves close against the side of your house and protected from the wind. Cover the pile of leaves with a tarp or sheet of plastic the corners held down by stones or bricks. Another place to store the dormant potted plants is in a basement outdoor stair at the bottom. When you see white roots sticking out of drainage holes bring them in and put them in the windows

AFTER FROST BLACKENS FOLIAGE Bring in Glads, Dahlias and Cannas After frost blackens foliage cut stem 12 inches above soil. Bruised tubers wont store well so dig them out slowly and carefully. Place the clump with soil on, in a shady well ventilated place, to dry until the soil shakes off. Store in dry soil, peat and sand at 34-50 degrees

I prune our grapes after all the leaves have fallen. We have two plants trained onto split rail, multi-tier fences. I prune each plant every three years, alternately. A very easy system similar to Guyot. Initially in the first year cut the rod back to the bottom rail. Later as new growth apears train it vertically to the top rail (above the top rail cut back to 3 leaves). In late autumn of the second year pull two of the vertical shoots down to the horizontal one to the right and one to the left, the remaining vertical shoots should be pruned back to 3 buds. In the following year the new horizontal shoots will produce laterals again trained vertically that will bear fruit. In late autumn cut out the two horizontal shoots and replace them with new ones from the vertical shoots growing in the center (and again remove the remaining vertical shoots to 3 good buds). This is the method I use. I'm not suggesting you use it unless the system you use now has become unmanagable.

NOVEMBER 27 Figs to z4b: in late fall when dormant dig 12 inches back from the trunk and 2 feet deep, tilt tree to the ground cover with boards plastic sheeting, soil and mulch (Edible Garden Article-Figs).

Cold Frames should be buttoned up for the winter before air temperatures have an opportunity to lower soil temperatures inside the frame to below 20 degrees F. We cover with white poly which allows light in but not ultra violet (which would force plants out of dormancy during the day so they'd die at night). We also create canals in our cold frames in the pathways between the pots and flood them with water. The water will keep the humidity in the frame higher as well as producing heat when it freezes, absorbing heat as it melts.

DECEMBER The graft on some roses should be protected when temperatures drop below 15 degrees unless there is a good snow cover. After roses have gone dormant and dropped most of their leaves cover the graft (which should be 2 inches under ground in our climate) on grafted roses with at least 8 inches of a well-drained sandy soil (feel free to pile it on). After the ground freezes hard, cover the mound with mulch to protect it from erosion and changes in temperature. A cylinder of chicken wire might be used as a collar to hold the mulch together. Tie long canes together for mutual support from wind or crushing snow.

Many Old fashioned Roses bloom on the previous years growth. If you prune it back it wont bloom. This also applies to many other flowering shrubs. Prune only right after it flowers.

The Climbing Rose 'New Dawn' is a Wichuriana Hybrid . As such it repeat blooms but new flower buds form next to previously flowered wood. Most flowers form on laterals. Dead growth is all that should be removed (in spring). In colder areas protect against die-back. I've heard of 'New Dawn' doing fine in zone 4 Saratoga with protection (tie the canes securely to each other or the trellis).

Fertilizing bulbs Bulb growers in the Netherlands used to dig in lots of cow manure and this is really the best but if you don't have manure use a fertilizer that has 4% at least of Nitrogen in a slow release or organic form (label might read Espoma Bone Meal 4-12-0 or Bulb Tone 4-10-6)

Preparing to force bulbs in winter. In fall buy good quality bulbs, pot them and then keep them cold for a couple months while they make roots and then bring them to the warmth of the windowsill so they can leaf out and flower. Any pot will do so long as you don't drown them with water. Ordinary potting mix is fine but if you plant large daffodils etc. put some weight in the bottom so they don't fall over. Plant small bulbs less than 1 inch apart, large ones 1 to 2 inches apart. You can store the potted plants for their cold period in a plastic bag in the refrigerator (water once a month) or carefully buried and mulched outside.

Plant the dormant roots of Lily of the Valley in shallow pots kept moist at room temperature. in 3 to 4 weeks they will flower.

Protecting evergreens against transpiration. Some evergreens need an anti-transpirant to protect them from drying winds in winter. Other evergreens can die if sprayed. Read the directions.

Designing your garden can start in fall. First decide on the geometric shape of your lawn areas which helps unify one part of a garden with another. Second, using limestone, string or your garden hose define the edges of your lawns and flowerbeds (avoid island beds). Third, amend the soil of your flowerbeds and plant a low hedge as the front (I use Spirea bumalda 'Gold Flame' or Alchemilla mollis). This hedge will grow outward over the grass and is easy to clip beneath the overlapping edge. This will be another device to unify the entire garden. Fourth, plant masses of perennials and flowering shrubs in your planting beds. Remember that if the sun can't get to the ground you won't have many weeds. Fifth maintain your beds with clippers, weed whacker and lawn mower to avoid bringing dormant weed seeds to the surface which happens when you weed.

Planning the design and amending the soil is usually done in fall together with planting of spring flowering perennials. The rest of the planting is best done in spring. When designing keep the kids in mind and incorporate concealed paths, large flat stones that are easy to draw upon with chalk and other fascinating devices to keep kids interested.

Preparing new beds for spring planting I find fall is the best time to create a new bed for spring planting by tilling in soil amendments.

Cool weather crops Lettuce germinates best in cool weather around 70 degrees so you should start your plants somewhere cool and then transplant to the garden. In Fall harvest times slow as the season progresses so that succession plantings have to be sown much closer together. Cover the crop with floating row covers like remay as temperatures get cooler and fertilize with a slow acting fertilizer. Locally the best planting time is every 3 to 4 days starting Labor day until the middle of September

In the south (zone 8) plantings may start in October and extend till March.

Wild and Species Tulips are hardy and reproduce as well as many Daffodils. Sandy soil and lots of sun makes for great species t ulips. If your soil lacks drainage amend with organic material. Add gravel to the soil mix to discourage rodents and cover with mesh until ground freezes. Plant them 3 times the height of the bulb into the soil. Water well, mulch after soil freezes. After plants flower leave seed pod on to encourage self seeding and let leaves remain until they turn yellow.

The plains of Colorado are little different from the native habitat of tulips. "Cold in Winter, moist in Spring, and hot and dry in Summer". So, plant them in a well-drained sandy soil, perhaps even under an evergreen that will shelter them from summer rain.

Reblooming Iris are Bearded Iris which has been seen to bloom in flushes sometimes five or six times per year except in some areas of high heat and humidity where the repeat blooming doesn't occur; Champagne Elegance-pink, Clarence-white over violet, Earl of Essex-Blue violet w/ white edge, Eternal Bliss-pale violet with tangerine beard, Feed Back-medium violet w/ yellow beard, Harvest of Memories-medium yellow, Immortality-white, Matrix-cream, misty twilight, Pink attraction, Silver Dividends, Violet Musi c, Witch of Endor, Zurich, Baby Blessed, Plum Wine.

Among the first bulbs to appear in spring are Snowdrops. Galanthus nivalis zone 3-8, Giant Snowdrops=G. elwesii & G. caucasicus are about 6" tall. They benefit from a moist well drained soil and so can be planted under deciduous trees and shrubs so that they get Summer shade.

Ice Follies, Jack Snipe, Tete a Tete 5-6" tall, Peeping Tom, Empress of Ireland, Ceylon-blooms last a month, Camelot-long blooming, Trevithian-Extremely Fragrant, Thalia-fragrant, Sweetness(Jonquill)-fragrant, Erlicheer-perfume your entire house(double blooms), Tazettas are most resistant to rot for wet areas, Liberty Bells, Tasetta-Geranium, Fragrant Rose, 3 fragrant Jonquils; Sugar Bush, Baby Moon, Stratosphere-2 feet high.

The smallest Daffodils are the wild Narcissi. They require a warm dry period after blooming and good drainage. Some favorites are Narcissus asturiensis-protect from slugs and dry in summer, N. cyclamineus-not too dry acid semi shade, will spread by seeding, N.jonquilla-sunny dry soil with some lime. The miniature Daffodils are usually a wild variety that has been crossed with a larger hybrid. they make easy care, smaller t han hybrid additions to the garden that naturalize easilly and self propagate dependably. These include; 'Little Gem', 'Wee Bee', 'Midget', Little Beauty', . The Cyclamineus hybrids including; 'Tete a Tete' (which should be fertilized every fall or they' ll revert to a smaller plant), 'Jumblie', 'Quince' do best in semi shade. Slightly larger 'Jack Snipe'-lemon and white bicolor,' Little Witch'-gold yellow, 'Beryl'-cream with orange cup like lime and dry soil.'

About 10" in height we find 'Ibis', ''Tracy'- lemon and white; should be planted in part shade,'Jetfire, Itsam- orange and white, Foundling, Cha-Cha; pink and white. Among the N.triandrus we have 'Hawera' which does best in cool dry acid soil among Rhododendrons perhaps, Seemingly this is also what white Petrel loves although Christine Skelmersdale seems to think it slightly more tolerant. The jonquils are among the last to flower blooming best in a dry, sunny rock garden; Sundial, Sundisk, Rikki, Lintie and Bobbysoxer. Double miniature Daffodils are 'Rip Van Winkle, Eystettensis, Pencrebar. The Tazettas; strong scent and multiple heads, Minnow .

I suggest naturalizing crocuses in the lawn area. By the time it's time to mow they will have stopped flowering (blooms March & April). Daffodils should be planted in the lawn but only in that part that is a 12 inch wide border around the outside of the lawn area. When you mow the first time leave this area uncut. Plant later blooming bulbs in beds out of the lawn area.

Harold Greer operates Greer Gardens on the west coast. If you wish to purchase retail rhododendrons go to his web site at

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