Playing in the dirt: November, a month for planning and even planting


Sharon Carrigan

Sharon Carrigan



Sharon Carrigan



Warm days, cool days, stormy days. Oh my! November has offered us a varied menu so far. But weather aside, November is a sort of stepchild among months, sandwiched between October and December -- Halloween and Christmas -- arguably two of the best-loved holidays. But I refuse to ignore Thanksgiving.


I enjoy the idea of turkeys, pumpkins and autumnal reds, yellows and bronzes. I refuse to listen to Christmas music, or watch Christmas movies, until Dec. 1. I like to curl up with a cup of coffee or tea and contemplate the blessings for which I am wholeheartedly grateful. It's also a great time to begin to plan what you want to do in the garden next year. If you are really ambitious, you can plot out a new bed or the rearrangement of an older one. Get out a gardening book or, if you have an old one, a seed catalog. (New ones are not out just yet.) On days when weather allows, all those leaves in the yard can be raked up into a pile where a new bed might go! And aside from raking leaves, there are still some other things to do in the garden.


If you would like to develop some friends who also enjoy gardening, or if you would like to learn more about your yard and garden than raking leaves in the fall, the Master Gardeners of Lowndes County would love to make your acquaintance. But come prepared to work, laugh and eat. We can help you with all those skills, in addition to gardening. Classes are coming up in late January or February. Watch for more specifics in the next few weeks. In the meantime, here are some tips for you to use when you go out to play in the dirt.




This month


· Plant shrubs and trees. Plant summer blooming perennials: iris, daylily and daisies. Plant winter and spring annuals: pansy, pinks, flowering cabbage and kale. Root rose cuttings (learn how with Master Gardeners).


· Water all newly-planted trees and plants regularly.


· Prune dead limbs and prune evergreen shrubs. Cut off tops of brown perennials; leave roots in the soil.


· Do not prune spring flowering shrubs such as azaleas, hydrangeas, Mock Orange, spirea and flowering quince because flower buds are already forming. Delay pruning of most trees and shrubs until February since any new growth stimulated by pruning may be killed by a sudden freeze.


· Put leaves and spent annuals into a compost bin. Add mulch to your garden and all ornamental beds for winter protection. Repair and sharpen garden tools, store with a light coat of oil to prevent rusting. Build bird feeders and houses.


Happy playing.





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