Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

Northern & Central Midwest

November, 2000
Regional Report

Cut Back Perennials

Cut back perennial and annual flowers that were killed by frost and look worn out. However, leave those flowers with seedheads to feed the birds. Members of the daisy family such as black-eyed Susan, cosmos, and purple coneflower and other flowers such as bee balm and Joe Pye-weed, as well as ornamental grasses, produce tasty seeds that birds appreciate going into winter.

Plant Those Bulbs

Although it's pushing the season, if you haven't planted all of your spring-flowering bulbs such as tulips and daffodils, put them in the ground now. They won't last the year indoors, even in an unheated garage, so they're best planted in the ground. To ensure that they make it through winter, mulch them as soon as you plant them with 3 to 4 inches of organic mulch.

Begin Forcing Amaryllis

If you brought your amaryllis bulb indoors at the beginning of September and let the foliage die back, it's now had the two months of rest it needs. Gently scrape away about 1 inch of the soil around the bulb. Plant the bulb in a pot with fresh potting soil and water it well. Place the pot in a warm spot, and you will have tender green shoots appearing before long and flowers soon after.

Protect Trees from Rabbits

Rabbits can girdle thin-barked trees and shrubs in fall and winter, often seriously damaging the trunks. Chicken wire or hardware cloth works well as protection. Form a cage around the trunk or stem at least 2 feet above your usual snow line. Fasten it to the ground with stakes so it can't get pushed in toward the trunk.

Check Houseplants

Carefully monitor your houseplants for changing moisture needs this time of year. Natural light levels are much lower in winter, so plants will not grow as much as they do in the summer. But, because the air in our homes is drier during the winter, plants may actually have greater water needs and may appreciate being grouped together and misted to keep humidity high.


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