Well, October was to have been one of our wettest months but that was not the case this year. The drought is still with us. As I submit this for editing on November 8, the one eighth inch of rain this morning was the only measurable amount in my gauge for the past month. Continue to conserve water but also do not give up gardening. Until about early January is the best time to plant trees, shrubs, and perennials. Make holes roughly 2 to 3 times the diameter of the container and only deep enough so that the ground level is the same as that of the plant in the pot. The holes should be shaped generally as a square to prevent roots from growing in circles. Water in the new fill dirt thoroughly to eliminate air pockets. Mulch all plants whether established or newly planted to protect roots from cold weather and to maintain soil moisture. Mulch should be 3 to 5 inches deep leaving an open ring of about 6 inches around the base of the plant.
If you think your garden looks desolate in winter after the first frost kills your annuals and freezes back the perennials, add evergreen shrubs to the landscape. Plants to consider are boxwood, hollies, pittosporium, nandina, and viburnium. There are more than one variety of each so you need to do a little research and decide which is the best for your garden. Remember to check a plant’s mature size so it will fit as it grows. Copies of suggestions for plants good for our area are free in the bulletin board on the porch of the King William office at 1032 S. Alamo.
Watch your favorite nursery to find out when spring blooming bulbs will be available. They will provide years of color in your landscape. Look for paperwhites, summer snowflakes, narcissus, and daffodils. All can be left in the ground to “naturalize” and will multiply over the years. Plant the bulbs in a hole 2 to 3 times deeper than the height of the bulb.
Tips: Plants grow more slowly in cooler weather so reduce houseplant fertilization by half during the fall and winter. Fertilize lawns now and every couple of months with an organic granular fertilizer to promote root growth for vigorous spring foliage. Do not trim trees and shrubs until mid February. Look back over the year to see what you did right or wrong in the garden and develop a plan for the next growing season. With our warm climate, that starts in March and it will be here before you know it. Thank goodness for those of us who look forward to temps above 80.
Garden Note: One of the most delightful things about a garden is the anticipation it provides.