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TO PLANT:  This is the month to shop for bearded iris.  Spring bulbs are beginning to arrive at local nurseries, so shop early for best selection.  If the nurseries haven’t had their supply arrive as yet, don’t give up because the products will arrive either at the end of this month or the beginning of next.  If some of your flower beds look a little drab, it is a good time to shop your local nurseries for some instant color.  This month is a good time to plant some more lettuce from seed.  It is a little early to plant the winter garden, but you can start asking your local nurseries as to what they are going to carry in plant material.  You can look for onion seedlings to plant.  The earlier you plant onion seedlings the better crop you will gather come early winter.  

TO DO:  This is the month to dig up and divide your flag iris.  If they are new, it may only be necessary to cut back the foliage to 6 inches and feed with bulb fertilizer.  Make sure to harvest all of your fruit and vegetables before they become too mature to be eatable.  Never, and I mean never, allow fruit that drops on the ground to remain there. If it is still good, use it; if it has started to rot remove it from the area.  Pears are beginning to ripen this month so make sure to harvest them before they start to ripen on the tree.  The key here is if one pear drops, it is time to pick them all.  With warm weather upon us, make sure you deep water your landscape trees, shrubs, and vegetables. If you are going on an extended vacation make sure you make arrangements for watering clearly defined.  For those who are interested in summer pruning of fruit trees check out  for important information.  Start planning for fall flower and vegetables.  


TO PLANT:  So you are back from vacation; it is not time to get the garden ready for winter.  It is a good time to plant a new lawn or recondition the old lawn.  If you have a Bermuda grass lawn, you can spread annual rye grass over the area to keep the lawn green in the winter time.  You can also remove the old lawn and replace with new.  It is important to remove the old lawn completely before replacement.  If you want a new shade tree, this is the time of year to choose.  Japanese maples are starting to turn color so you can choose one that will give you fall color.  Make sure you have harvested all of the fruit on your trees that have ripened.  If you want to enjoy the pleasure of sweet peas next spring, now is the time to plant.  Plant your spring blooming bulbs now if you haven’t done so.  Use lots of bulb food.  It is a good time to repot cymbidium orchids.  If they are overlapping the edges of their pot, it is time to divide them or look around for some new varieties.  

TO DO:  Divide perennials that no longer are giving you successive blooms.  This includes such plants as agapanthus.  Nurseries are having great sales on such plants as roses and fruit trees.  Check them out.  Garden seed racks are now in, so you might wish to purchase some of the newer seeds for your flower and vegetable gardens.  Feed the roses once more before winter forces them into dormancy.  This way you will be able to harvest some blooms for the Thanksgiving table.  It is also a good idea to clean the roses of their old or diseased leaves.  You can start the program of refreshing the soil in your potted plant “pals’, and it may be time to repot them into larger containers.  Gardener and Bloom planting mix is an ideal material for repotting these friends of yours.  While you are at it, why not try to grow some lettuce in some of the planters that have lost their edge of color.  Lettuce is less likely to be subject to frost.  


TO PLANT:  This is a great time of year to visit your local nursery to see what is in color that might last through the winter.  My favorite for winter color is Icelandic poppy.  They will survive the winter cold as well as give you some picking flowers.  Some of the new viola blends make wonderful colorful cover for your bulb beds.  One of my favorites is the yellow and blue viola.  They are colorful, hardy, and easy to grow.  Even though you might find some grapes in containers, in nurseries, for sale, and cheap; you can also order them, if you are looking for something special.  If you want to order special roses, now is the time to place your order.  It is also a good time to check out the fruit trees you may wish to add to your orchard.  Winter vegetables can go in at this time.

TO DO:  It is time to give your roses a final clean up before pruning them in January.  We won’t have lime sulfur spray this coming year, so cleaning up now becomes even more important.  Right now you have a chance to harvest the rose hips for consumption.  Crushed and steeped in hot water makes a wonderful and healthy tea.  Double check around your fruit trees to make sure there isn’t any dried up, unharvestable fruit left on your trees.  Also rake up all of the old leaves and fruit that might be left on the ground.  Leaves can be cleaned up after the rains start.  You can still put in a new lawn if you plant from sod.  This is the time of year when you give your landscape an organic fertilizer lift.  I recommend chicken manure and alfalfa so that winter rains can do their job more efficiently.  Here is a check list of things you should have already done.  Lift and divided flag iris, planted spring bulbs, planted winter vegetable crops, and planted winter color. Also cleaned up my roses and gave them one last feeding of rose food.  OK?  You get a gold star.  

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