Freeze Warning

Freezing temperatures are possible overnight Friday into Saturday and Saturday into Sunday given the forecast conditions. Plan to protect newly planted annuals or herbs, and if possible any perennials that have begun to grow more than a few inches tall because of the unseasonably warm weather. If it is not possible to protect all your perennials, remember that freeze damage is not generally fatal to perennials, but may cause cosmetic damage. Pansies/Violas will be ok unprotected.

Trees and shrubs won’t be killed but may suffer cosmetic damage to flowers or new growth. Unprotected hydrangeas in particular may suffer damage to flower buds, causing poor or no flowering this year. 

Protect plants in the ground by draping sheets or blankets over them. Sticks can be used to create a “tent” to avoid flattening delicate plants, and also to avoid contact with leaves which may result in freezing through the blanket. Add bricks on top of the sheets to hold down the sheet from the winds. Containers can be moved into a protected area or covered the same way as plants in the ground.

What if you can’t protect because plants are too big or there are too many? Spring freezes are more of a cosmetic problem that a danger to hardy plants (perennials, shrubs and trees). Plants often recover with minimal long-term effects. That doesn’t mean it’s not frustrating to lose your beautiful cherry or magnolia blossoms.  That’s weather in North Carolina!

Fall is a great time to plant and transplant

If you are planting or transplanting this week, PLEASE make sure to water water water with the high 80’s temperatures coming back !

Fall is the best time to plant or transplant!

Now is the time to begin transplanting your bulbs and day lilies.

For Gladiolus,

1. Cut back the foliage to within 1 inch of the ground after the leaves begin to yellow and die back naturally in the fall. Rinse pruning shears in a solution of one part bleach and nine parts water before each cut to disinfect them.

2. Dig around the clump of gladiolus corms, loosening the soil to a 6″ depth. Lift the corms out of the soil and brush off the dirt.

3. Break apart the corms by twisting them gently until they separate. Remove the old basal plate, which contains the roots, on the large main corms and dispose of it. Separate the smaller corms from the sides of the main corms. Throw away any rotten or damaged corms.

4. Cover the new bed with a 2″ compost layer, then till into the top 6 to 8″ of soil. Select a well-drained garden bed that receives all-day sunlight during the spring and summer growing season.

5. Transplant each corm so the tip is 3 to 6 inches deep, planting larger corms at the 6″ depth and the smaller corms 3″ deep. Space the corms 3 to 6″ apart in all directions.

6. Water the soil after transplanting so the top 6″ feels moist. Cover the bed with 2″ of mulch to protect the corms from winter temperature fluctuations. Gladiolus do not require further watering until spring.

For Day Lilies: This articles is from Oakes Daylilies which shows these step by step instructions on an actual Day Lily: Divide and Conquer 101

  1. Select a large Clump: You can divide any daylily clump that has 2 fans(divisions) or more, but typically you would want to divide clumps that are several years old with quite a few fans.
  2. Dig up the clump. Start digging 6-8″ away from the clump, then work your way around the clump until you can pop it out of the ground
  3. Shake off the dirt and trim the foliage(optional) Shake off some of the dirt so you can see where to divide the plants. You may also want to trim the foliage (6-8″) so the plants are easier to handle. Trimming is optional, but if you don’t trim, the leftover foliage may wilt and look ragged after the transplant. New foliage will typically start growing back soon after transplanting, especially if you keep them well watered.
  4. Divide the Clump. Often you will just be able to pull the plants apart (some varieties divide more easily than others). If they don’t pull apart easily, you can use a knife to pry or cut the plants apart.
  5. How small to divide? You can divide as small as one plant but you will probably want to leave a few plants together. If you divide to a single plant, you probably won’t get much bloom the next year.
  6. Replant: Dig a hole deep and wide enough to place the roots. Plant to the depth they were previously planted. The white ring between roots and leaves is about ground level. Cover the roots and firm the soil.
  7. You’re finished! We usually toss a slight handful of basic fertilizer around the drip line of the day lilies in the fall. We just use a basic 10-10-10 mix. After you fertilize, don’t forget to water and mulch your new daylily. Then, just sit back and let that beauty grow!
  8. Remember Day Lilies are sun lovers.



Fall is finally here!

Fall is finally here and all the wonderful pansies and mums are showing up in the nurseries. Here’s a tip: Check all those little flower buds on that beautiful chrysanthemums plant before you buy it. If the little flower buds are wilted or brown, don’t buy that plant. It means the mum dried out and those wilted/brown buds will NOT open into a flower.  Most mums that you find in the Garden shops or even grocery store are grown as annuals. Some may come back when planted in the yard but most will not. Yellows have been known to come back. The beautiful Pelee (florist) mums will not come back in our area. They are not cold hardy.

After you buy the beautiful mums, make sure to keep them watered heavily and if you want them to last October and November, remember to give them some shade. The more sun the water they will need.

Mark your calendars for 2 great “Folks on Friday”programs from the Master Gardeners. Friday October 21 at noon on Composting and Friday October 28 at noon on “Gardening for Wildlife with Native Plants”. Both held at the Extension Office on Fairchild St. W/S. You can find out more on both classes at

Are those Fall Webworm bags in the trees driving you nuts? Here’s a tip on them that doesn’t involve burning your trees and feeds the birds at the same time. If you will simply tear a hole in the bags, the birds will eat the worms. NOW I CAN’T STRESS THIS ENOUGH! DO NOT STAND DIRECTLY UNDER THE WEB WHILE DOING THIS UNLESS YOU WANT CATERPILLAR POO IN YOUR HAIR-  you have been warned. You have now created a bird buffet.