Northern California Coastal & Inland Valleys
Last Call for Roses
Roses need a rest period during the winter months. However, you can make one more application of a balanced fertilizer now. Once the plants have bloomed for the last time, allow the flowers to form "hips," the fruit of the rose. Rose hips signal the plants to go dormant and also provide migrating birds with a source of vitamin C.
Dormant season pruning is usually performed in mid-January, so there is plenty of time to get one more bloom from your roses.
Plant Onions and Garlic
November is the ideal time to plant onions and garlic for harvest next summer. Select a spot in full sun with rich soil. Plant onions from seed or "sets" available at the nursery now. Garlic can be planted from heads purchased at the market. Simply divide a head into individual cloves and plant, pointed end up, in a sunny spot.
Cut Back Faded Perennials
Perennial plants such as Astilbe and Aquilegia should be cut back to within 2 inches of the ground. Mulch around plants with compost, being careful not to cover the crown. Work the compost into the surface of the soil.
Remove the spent flowers from yarrow using hedge shears. Be careful not to cut into the foliage - just clip the flower stems near the leafy part of the plant. Yarrow, like lavender, will not recover from hard pruning so be gentle. Fertilize with a balanced, slow release product or spread compost around the base of the plants after removing the flowers.
Reduce Water for Indoor Plants
Shorter days here indicate that it is the beginning of the dry season in the tropics. Since most indoor plants are native to tropical regions it's time to reduce water. Allow the plants to go slightly dry between watering and use no fertilizer between now and spring. Keep foliage clean so that plants can photosynthesize with what little light is available.