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Cover up

January 24, 2020
By H.I. JEAN SHIELDS - Garden Club of Cape Coral , Cape Coral Daily Breeze


This week's cold breath of unusual low temperatures was plenty of reason for a cover up, for gardeners and plants.

Will we have more, maybe but not a sure deal. It is not unusual to have two or three days of temps in the 40s, during January and February; March, maybe.

Care depends on the location of your plants. Orchards in trees are usually fine.

I do not cover up much for a one night stand of 40s, and I learned years ago that orchards will stand an overnight of 50s with out a real problem. Again location.

A dry, still night is not good. A bit of air movement actually helps.

I have some old sheets that I drape carefully over a grouping of plants. Cover all the way to the ground. You can do this with a rose bush also.

Cover up just before dark, and remember to go out and uncover as soon as sun is up.

When cold alerts are given, remember to have plants watered at some point before that night. Dried out soil will increase root damage. Plants should not be living in dried out soil anyway.

Weather changes are something you will get used to in our great sunny zone. Keep a chart until you get used to changes.

The garage is a good space to set some things in for a cold night. Take them out in morning. Is it really too much trouble to be taking your plants in and out? No! Happy, good gardeners want to please their plants.

It is OK to bring plants into house but may make a mess; it's hard to move soil things around without spilling some and you may be letting tiny frogs into house. They are not easy to catch and put back outside.

My technique for capturing tiny frogs is to use a regular size wash cloth. Carefully get close to the tiny critter and slowly hold cloth at a good level and then drop it onto the frog. You will then be able to gather it up safely without harm and carry the little nuisance back outside.

Yes, you will miss the critter sometimes, but it will work, and it makes a good tale to tell at the next social meeting.

I hope some of you out there enjoyed a beautiful amaryllis plant over the holidays. They are an amazing, tall, tropical looking flower and a lot of plants will have up to 5 large flowers at the top of a tall hollow stalk. Several long strappy leaves are attractive. You may need to stake the blooms so allow for room to put a slender but sturdy stake into the pot.

You buy them potted or boxed up in a box with soil and a proper pot. They are available in the spring mostly boxed.

They may be planted outside in the soil also and will bloom for several years. Their bulb will grow bigger and bigger in the garden.

You may transplant the fresh flower after blooming is over. Cut the hollow bloom stem off at the bulb end. Leave the leaves on all winter. Set it aside in a semi sunny place and water a little until the rainy season. It is just resting and will be ready to plant with new soil in the pot or in the garden.

Keep warm and watch for unusual weather problems. In four to six weeks we will be all toasty warm.

Happy gardening till we meet again.

H.I. Jean Shields is Past President of the Garden Club of Cape Coral.



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