Transplanting tips for autumn gardeners
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Dividing and transplanting perennials is a fall task that often is overlooked. There's so much cleaning up to do, I just can't get to the digging and cutting that has to be done to separate my overgrown plants. Here are some tips from Doug's Green Garden Newsletter:
"Remember my rule of thumb for cool weather gardens. Transplant and dig all perennials in September whether they're looking great or not. For every zone warmer than 4 you live in, you can add a week into October. So a zone 6 gardener would still be able to move perennials in the second week of October. Over many years of moving perennials in the nursery, I discovered survival rates go down drastically the longer you wait past September.
"I finish transplanting or planting evergreens in the last week of October. Woody plants get moved after the leaves have fallen in the fall and can be moved right up to freeze. You can plant trees and shrubs from the nursery at any time from now until freeze and ignore what the leaves are doing.
"The toughest thing is to take a blooming perennial and cut it back for digging and transplanting. Or you wait until spring because darn near everything can be moved successfully in the spring without a problem."
I recently read about spider lilies (Lycoris radiate), a staple of old southern gardens that are easy to share. Because it's a late-summer bloomer, they are sometimes called schoolhouse lilies as it blooms when the children are headed back to school. In coastal regions, it's called a hurricane lily as it coincides with hurricane season. Some gardeners believe that the rains from a hurricane cause it to flower.
Another name, according to Horticulture magazine, is the surprise lily, because when the flowering stalk finally appears, it seems to come from nowhere. The stout stems, laden with buds, sprout from the ground completely on their own, with no accompanying foliage. The leaves emerge in fall and use winter and spring sunlight to restore its reserves. In early summer, the foliage yellows and disappears.
These bulbs are hardy in Zones 7-9 (or 8-10, depending on the source), so we might be a bit cold for them. I read where they can be grown in containers in colder zones, with pots stored in a cool, dry place indoors over the winter. Another suggestion is to plant them in a sunny, sheltered location and cover them with evergreen boughs or pine needles for the winter.
Are there any readers who have grown them in our area? They sound delightful.
There will be a special dedication of a shelter at Coonskin Park at 1 p.m. Oct. 1 to honor the late Harry Lawson Wise.
Harry was a founding member of the Kanawha County Master Gardener Association and was a tireless supporter of Coonskin Park, where he served as president of Friends of the Park. Harry worked extensively in the American Rhododendron Society for years, serving on the National Board of Directors. In 2002, he was appointed Director Emeritus and was awarded the Silver Medal of the American Rhododendron Society for outstanding service in 2004.
He worked as a chemical engineer for Union Carbide until retirement. He was a graduate of Auburn University, attending on a football scholarship; then earned a master's degree from the University of Virginia.
Harry passed away in 2007, and he is fondly remembered for his extensive knowledge of gardening, his gruff yet endearing personality, and his quick wit.
Junior Master Gardeners
West Virginia State University Extension Service is conducting a half-day training on the Junior Master Gardener program, a science-based curriculum geared toward getting young people interested in gardening and agriculture. The training will be held 1-5 p.m. Sept. 27 at the Rock Lake Community Life Center, 801 Lincoln Dr., South Charleston.
Melissa Stewart, extension specialist for Agriculture and Natural Resources and a state coordinator for the JMG program, said the training is perfect for classroom and home-school teachers, after-school and daycare staff members, community centers, church groups and anyone interested in developing a youth gardening program.
There is no cost to attend the workshop, but participants must register. Contact the West Virginia State University Extension Service, 304-204-4305, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Certain books in the JMG curriculum will be available for purchase onsite. Additional books can be found at the JMG online store at http://jmgkids.us/.
Reach Sara Busse at email@example.com or 304-348-1249.