December Garden Activities

Try forcing paper whites as a way to enjoy gardening during the winter.  December is a great month for armchair gardening. You can enjoy the seed and perennial catalogs and start planning your spring garden.paperwhites in bloom

  • Fruits and Nuts–Plant young pecan and other deciduous fruit trees and grapes. Select budwood. Start dormant pruning of established fruits. Protect all young trees from rabbit damage by placing wire around the base of the tree. Put on dormant oil sprays for scale.
  • Shrubs–Planting is still the main activity but delay in case of freezing weather.
  • Lawns–Control wild garlic, chickweed, poa annua, dandelion, and other weeds. Read label on each can of weed killer used.Roses–add plants to rose garden. Mulch all plantings.
  • Annuals and Perennials–Plant hardy annual seed without delay. Have you tried violas?
  • Bulbs–continue spring bulb planting.
  • Miscellaneous–Shrubs, trees and indoor plants make excellent gifts.

Source:  Alabama Cooperative Extension ANR-0047

Decorating with Greenery

Decorating with fresh greenery from your landscape is easy and a great way to bring the outside in. AND, oh yes,  it is basically free! Many evergreens hold up well for a week to 10 days inside your home. If you place the stems in water and place them outside on your porch they will often last weeks during the cool days of our fall and winter.

There are many landscape and forest plants that perform well including pine, cedar, magnolia, juniper, wax myrtle, pittosporum, nandina, Leyland cypress, arborvitae, ivy and holly of all types. If you don’t know which plants perform well and which don’t, experiment with them ahead of your event.

You will need clippers to cut the greenery and a bucket of water to place them in as you cut. You may need to split the hard stems or bash with a hammer to open up the stems so they will absorb more water. You may want to rinse the greenery before letting it sit overnight in a cool place to absorb water.

Many evergreens like pine, cedar and magnolia leaves will hold up for several days without water but putting them in a container with water  will prolong their life.

Adding springs of fresh greenery to florist flowers is inexpensive and will transform simple cut flowers into holiday decorations. You may add greenery along your mantle or banister, in the branches of your chandelier, around a holiday decoration and many other places in your home.

Caution: some plants and berries may be toxic to people and pets.

For more information on using fresh greenery check out  Holiday Decorating with Fresh Greenery from Clemson Cooperative Extension. This publication has great pictures, more detailed information and even directions to make your own kissing ball.

 

November Gardening Activities

Plants bulbs this month for spring color. Other gardening tasks for November include planting hardy annuals such as larkspur, poppies, pansies and candytuft. This is also a great time to plant trees, shrubs, vines, and roses. Take a drive and enjoy the glorious fall colors.

yellow ginkgo leaves falling to the ground
Ginkgo leaves in the fall
  • Fruits and Nuts–Select sites for plantings. start mulching strawberries, blackberries, and grapes.
  • Shrubs–Plant shrubs, trees, and vines.
  • Lawns–Some homeowners like lawn paints. Have you thought about having a green lawn this winter? Use proper herbicide to kill germinating winter weeds.
  • Roses– Get rose planting underway. Use a soil test as a basis for fertilization. Look for new varieties.
  • Annuals and Perennials–Plant hardy annuals such as larkspur, poppies, pansies, and candytuft. Get sweet peas into the ground.
  • Bulbs–Continue spring bulb planting. Put lilies of the valley in a shady place.
  • Miscellaneous–Plant screen plantings for a privacy on patio.
  • Vegetable Seed– Plant cabbage and lettuce in a coldframe.

Source: Alabama Cooperative Extension System ANR-0047

 

 

October Gardening Activities

Plant pansies, violas and snapdragons in mid-October for  fall and winter color. Ornamental kale, parsley, red mustard and Swiss chard are other great choices for containers and flower beds this time of year. winter container

  • Fruits and Nuts–Planting season for strawberries starts in South Alabama. Clean up orchard areas.
  • Shrubs–Shrub plantings can be made. Water when needed. Note varieties of camellias in bloom. Mulch shrubs that do not have mulch.
  • Lawns–Continue to mow lawns until no new growth is noticeable.
  • Roses–Continue insect and disease control practices.
  • Annuals and perennials–Visit flower shows and gardens. List desirable varieties of mums. clean up flower beds immediatlely after killing frost.
  • Bulbs–Plant tulips, hyacinths, daffodils,, crocuses, Dutch irises, anemones, and ranunculuses. Watch planting depth. Dig caladiums; clean and store in warm place.
  • Miscellaneous–Renew mulch around shrubs and rose beds. Loosen mulches that have packed down. Spray with oils before freezing weather to control insects. Remove all dead stems and trash from flower beds. Transplant into small pots any cuttings taken earlier.
  • Vegetable Seed–Plant turnips, mustard, kale, rape, spinach, and onion sets.

Source: Alabama Cooperative Extension System ANR-0047

September Gardening Activities

Watch for red Spider Lilies to appear like magic this month. You will see them in yards, along roads, in pastures, at old house places, and in some surprising places. They seem to strive on neglect!spider lily

  • Fruits and Nuts–New catalogs will be arriving soon. Start plans for future selection and planting. Take soil test for new planting areas. Fertilize established strawberry plantings.
  • Shrubs–Study landscape to determine plant needs. check early varieties of camellias. You may want to replace those damaged in spring by late freezes. After fall growth is completed, spray all shrubs with a fungicide.
  • Lawns–Plant seed of winter grasses where situation prevents planting permanent grasses. Winter seeds will appear soon. Stop fertilization three weeks before first frost.
  • Roses–Protect fall crops of blossoms from aphids and thrips. Keep plants health.
  • Annuals and Perennials–Last chance for planting perennials and biennials. Old clumps of perennials may be divided. Plant peonies.
  • Bulbs–Spring flowering bulbs may be planted late this month in North Alabama. Delay planting in South Alabama.
  • Miscellaneous–Clean up infestations of insects on azaleas, camellias, boxwoods, gardenias, hollies, etc. If oil spray is needed, don’t use in freezing weather. Build compost bin or box; leaves will be falling soon. Move houseplants indoors.
  • Vegetable Seed–Plant hardy vegetables and root crops.
  • Vegetable Plants–Plant cabbage, collards, cauliflower, celery, Brussels sprouts, and onion sets.

Source: Alabama Cooperative Extension  ANR-0047

August Gardening Activities

 pink flowersHave you noticed the pink flowers–Naked Ladies–that pop up in gardens everywhere late in July and early August? These are Lycoris squamigera that bloom on two foot tall stems with with foliage that appears later. The hottest days of summer have arrived but there are still chores we can do in our gardens. Just get outside early in the day and keep hydrated.
  • Fruits and Nuts–Cut out old blackberry canes after fruiting and then fertilize and cultivate for replacement canes. remember to order new catalogs for fruit selection.
  • Shrubs–Layer branches of hydrangea to propagate.
  • Lawns–Watch for diseases. Mow regularly. Water as needed.
  • Roses–Keep roses healthy and actively growing. Hybrid teas and floribundas may need light pruning to prevent scraggly appearance.
  • Annuals and perennials–Water as needed. Plant perennials and biennials.
  • Bulbs–Divide old iris plantings and add new ones.
  • Miscellaneous–Keeping flowers, shrubs, trees, and lawns health is the major task this month. This means close observation for insects and diseases. Water.
  • Vegetable Seed–Plant turnips, rutabagas, beans, and peas in South Alabama.
  • Vegetable Plants–Plant cabbage, collards, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, and celery.

Source: Alabama Cooperative Extension ANR-0047

July Gardening Activities

You can’t beat vegetables fresh from the garden. Don’t forget to plant pumpkins the first week of July for fall harvest.   

  • Fruits and Nuts–Protect figs and other ripening fruit from birds.
  • Shrubs–Continue to root shrub cuttings until late in the month and mulch to keep soil moist.
    Remove faded blooms promptly from crape myrtle and other summer-blooming plants.
  • Lawns–Watch for diseases. Mow regularly. Water as needed.
  • Roses–Keep roses healthy and actively growing. Apply fertilizer. Wash off foliage to prevent burning if any fertilizer falls on plants. Water as needed.
  • Annuals and Perennials–Water as needed to keep plants active.
  • Bulbs–Iris and spider lilies may be planted late this month.
  • Miscellaneous–Keeping flowers, shrubs, trees, and lawns health is the major task this month. Watch closely for insects and diseases. Water.
  • Vegetable Seed–Plant beans, field peas, rutabagas, squash, New Zealand spinach, and Irish potatoes. Plant cabbage, collards, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and celery for the fall crop.
  • Vegetable Plants–Plant tomatoes in Central and North Alabama.

Source: Alabama cooperative Extension ANR–0047

June Gardening Activities

June is the month to enjoy daylilies, hydrangeas and other perennials and annuals in our flower gardens.

  • Fruits and nuts–Layer grapes and continue spray programs. Thin apple and peach trees.
  • Shrubs–Fertilize now. Keep long shoots from developing by pinching off tips.
  • Annuals and Perennials–Remove old flower heads to promote continued flowering. Watch for insects and diseases.
  • Bulbs–Foliage may be removed from spring flowering bulbs if it has yellowed and is becoming dry.
  • Vegetable Seed–Plant beans, field peas, pumpkins, squash, corn, cantaloupes and watermelons.
  • Vegetable plants–Plant tomatoes, peppers, eggplants and sweet potato vine cuttings.

Source:  Alabama Cooperative Extension System ANR-0047

 

 

May Gardening Activities

This month many flowers and perennials are looking their best. Enjoy the flowers and get those annuals and pink iris bloom up closevegetables planted. Iris are blooming this month and come in a variety of colors including a peachy pink.

  • Shrubs–Newly planted shrubs need extra care now and in coming weeks. Don’t forget to water them.
  • Roses–Spray for insects and diseases. Fertilize monthly based on soil test. Container-grown plants in flower may be planted now. Prune climbing roses after the first big flush of flowering.
  • Bulbs–Summer bulbs started in containers can be planted now. Don’t remove foliage from spring flowering bulbs. Do not let seedheads form on tulips and other spring flowering bulbs.
  • Vegetables–Plant seedlings of tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, sweet potatoes, vegetable seeds.

 

Source:  Alabama Cooperative Extension System ANR-0047

 

April Gardening Activities

April is the time to take a drive and enjoy the azaleas that will be blooming throughout the month. With the wonderful spring weather we are all ready to get outside and work in our flower gardens and get the vegetable gardens started. Just be sure to wait until after the last average frost for your area to set out those summer annuals and tender vegetables.

  • Fruits and Nuts–Start spray program for all fruits. Plant raspberries and blackberries.bright pink azalea
  • Shrubs–Fertilize azaleas and camellias. When new growth is half-completed, spray all shrubs with a fungicide.
  • Roses–Watch for insects and diseases. Remove old flower heads. Plant container-grown plants.
  • Bulbs–Plant gladiolus, fancy-leaved caladiums, milk and wine lilies and ginger and gloriosa lilies.
  • Miscellaneous–On camellias and hollies look for scale insects and spray if necessary. Carefully water newly planted of shrubs and trees.
  • Summer annuals may be set out late this month in central and southern parts of Alabama.
  • Vegetable seed–Plant tender vegetables such as beans, corn, squash, melons and cucumbers.
  • Vegetable plants–Plant tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, sweet potatoes and parsley.

Source: Alabama Cooperative Extension System ANR-0047