English children chant the phrase “Remember, remember the 5th of November” – Guy Fawkes Day to them – but we could change that to “Remember, remember the chrysanthemums in November.” At any rate my greenhouse is full of bloom right now and I hope yours is, too, for they bring much warm color to an otherwise drab month.
I have built up a stock of chrysanthemum varieties that starts blooming late in October and continues until past Christmas. Why don’t you do the same? As the various varieties come into bloom this year, note the date so that another year you also can arrange for continuous bloom lasting over several months.
Standards or True Chrysanthemums make fine house decorations but the cuttings should be started right now for blooming next November. Standard chrysanthemums are treated in the same manner as other standard plants. Other chrysanthemum cuttings are taken in March. When the plants finish blooming store the rootstocks in a coldframe. Put a heavy mulch of leaves around the outside of the frame and in severe weather use the additional protection of mats over the sash.
New Evergreen Plantings in exposed spots should be protected to prevent windburn during the winter months. Thorough watering is the first step. Then comes a heavy mulch of leaves, peatmoss, straw or hay. Finally, drive in several stakes around the plants and stretch burlap over them on the exposed side of the planting. If the plants are protected the first winter, under ordinary circumstances they will require no protection the second and succeeding years.
English Boxwoods need protection every winter in the North to prevent sunscald, windburn and snow damage. Burlap stretched around a framework on all sides of the plant and over the top, too, is necessary in this part of the country. Boxwood is readily scalded if uncovered in early spring and the warm sun strikes it while it is still frozen. A mulch of salt hay on the soil also helps prevent the frost from penetrating too deeply.
Roses, especially hybrid teas, should be protected this month. If the growth is very tall cut it back somewhat to simplify the protecting job. However, leave at least 24 inches of growth. It also helps if the growth of each plant is tied together. This saves it from whipping around in the wind.
If planted far enough apart draw up 5 or 6 inches of soil around the crown of each plant. If the bushes are close together it is better to bring in extra soil to pile up around the plants, otherwise roots may be damaged or exposed by the digging. Later on when there is an inch or two of frost in the ground, I mulch the plants with a foot or so of leaves, straw or hay.
When rotted manure is available it may be applied to the roses just before mulching. Use it liberally and over the winter months the plants will benefit. Or if you prefer, the manure can be applied in the spring after the mulch is removed but before the soil is leveled. This is better, for the beneficial effects do not leach out all winter and run off the hard-frozen soil.
Wintering mandevilla plants and standard Roses need winter protection and I think the best method for most people is to lay them down on the ground and cover them. First dig a trench for the stem and a hole for the head of the plant. Then loosen the roots on the opposite side of the plant to make it easier to tip it over. After it is tipped over drive in pegs to hold it down. Cover the whole plant with straw, hay or leaves adding poisoned seed to control the field mice that might otherwise damage the plant during the winter. A few inches of soil over the mulch holds it in place.
Clean up the garden. All the dead flowers and vegetable plants should be put into the compost heap-except corn stalks and cabbages.
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