Lockerly Newsletter November 2016 - Volume 2

ACS Southeast Region Reference Garden

Left to Right: Rodger Flotta, Debbie Foster, Jeff Rutel, Barbie Colvin, Jerry and Lance Pailer.

On November 4th, Lockerly's Conifer Collection was officially designated an American Conifer Society (ACS) Reference Garden! After leading ACS members/sponsors Rodger Flotta, Jeff Rutel, and Jerry & Lance Pailer on a stroll through the arboretum's 600+ specimens, Horticulture Director Debbie Foster was thrilled to receive news of becoming one of nineteen Southeastern Region Reference Gardens.  Southeastern ACS Reference Garden Coordinator Barbie Colvin was also on hand for this momentous occasion!
The conifer collection at Lockerly Arboretum was started in the early 1980's.  The majority of it was planted between 1988 and 1992.  In February of 2009 the arboretum received a gift-in-kind of over 100 conifers from Head-Lee Nursery in Seneca, South Carolina to support our efforts in the redevelopment of the conifer collection. In 2011 Lockerly Arboretum was awarded a grant from the ACS Southeast Region that provided an additional 90 conifers to enhance the garden.  A second ACS grant for $3000 was awarded in 2013. In late December 2013 and January 2014, over 115 new plants were added to the collection as a result of this grant. Currently the reference garden has over 600 specimens representing 23 genera, 45 species, and 151 different cultivars. 

Lockerly Arboretum will be one of five reference gardens in Georgia, including Armstrong State Arboretum, Atlanta Botanical Garden, Smith Gilbert Gardens, and the State Botanical Garden of Georgia.  For a complete list of conifer reference gardens in the Southeast Region go to

Thank you to those who supported our Georgia Gives Day Drive. We are dependent upon our donors and appreciate the support of ALL who donate not only dollars, but volunteer time, ANY TIME OF THE YEAR! Georgia Gives Day brought in $3,465. Thank you everyone!

Don't Miss This Amazing Plant

The variegated century plant (Agave americana 'Marginata') can be an awesome sight to see with its green and yellow striped leaves.  Often the leaves fold back on themselves giving much the appearance of giant bands of striped ribbon. Its tight rosette of stiff, sword-shaped leaves, each up to six feet long and 10 inches wide, makes a dramatic statement in the landscape but watch out for those sharp spines at the tip.

Century plant is a hardy survivor, tolerating heat and drought. It grows best in full sun but can adapt to shade. After 10 years or more (though not a century), a lofty flower spike is produced, sometimes reaching a height of 20 feet or more, with pale yellow to white blooms. The plant dies after blooming but can be propagated by detaching well-rooted suckers appearing at the base, or by plantlets formed on the flower spike.

Last year Lockerly acquired a variegated century plant for its greenhouse plant collection.  The collection consists of succulents, orchids and various tropical plants and is available for public viewing and enjoyment year round.  Much to our surprise the century plant recently started to produce a flower spike and will soon be in full bloom.  The spike is currently around 5 feet tall and is already showing buds.  Come see this amazing plant ... it may be 10 or more years before we get another chance.

Serving the Community
On October 1, 2016 the GCSU softball team came out to Lockerly as a community service project.  The team worked hard for 2 hours and were able to spread over 150 bales of pine straw throughout the arboretum. Mary Dennison, the team's coach, said that c ommunity service is important to the Athletic Department and the softball program. In addition to working at Lockerly, they have helped with games at the Library Fair hosted by the Mary Vinson Library on Sept 24 th , and are planning to help with the Life Enrichment Center's Fall Festival by decorating and assisting with games.

Community and student volunteers perform various types of activities crucial to the maintenance and operation of Lockerly Arboretum including an all-volunteer Board of Trustees.  In 2015, 287 volunteers contributed a total of 1,580 hours of service. The  Lockerly staff and Trustees are most appreciative for the GCSU softball team and the contributions of all of our many volunteers. Thank you!

November Gardening Tips
Debbie Foster
Lockerly Horticulture Director 

Over the past few weeks the night time temperatures have dipped down into the upper 40's and low 50's.  Even though we are currently experiencing dry summer like conditions during the day, cooler weather is just around the corner.  If you have plants outside in the ground or in containers and you want to bring them in for the winter, there are a few things you need to consider. 

Sudden changes in temperature, light, and humidity can be traumatic to plants, resulting in yellowed leaves, dieback, wilting, and even death.  To prevent shock when you bring plants back indoors, expose plants gradually to reduced lighting. Over a period of about a week, gradually reduce light levels by moving plants from sun to light shade to heavy shade, and finally indoors. When you move plants indoors, make sure the light conditions are as close as possible to those out-doors. Once indoors, some of the leaves may turn yellow and drop off as it adjusts to lower light levels.

Inspect the plants carefully. Take them out of their pots to see if anything has crawled in through the drainage holes. Soaking the pot in a tub of lukewarm water for about 15 minutes will force insects out of the soil. If ants, snails, earthworms, or other insects burrowed into the soil, you might want to repot the plants. Wash the leaves and stems with the hose to remove dirt and insects. Allow them time to dry, and spray the entire plant, soil and pot with an insecticidal soap following the label directions. Reapply insecticidal soap 10 days later in case any eggs have hatched.

If necessary, move plants into larger containers. If plants have gotten leggy during their outdoor stay, remove them from the container, and prune the canopy and roots in equal proportions. Scrub the pot, add fresh bagged potting soil (not garden soil) and repot. This also is a good time to take cuttings of annual flowers, such as impatiens, begonias, geraniums, and coleus. They root easily in water or sand, and make attractive houseplants. This is a good way to overwinter them for planting in the garden next year. Or, you can just dig and pot a few annual plants, and enjoy their flowers for many more weeks indoors.

One of the saddest things for a gardener to witness is the death of their favorite annuals when we get that first hard freeze. For those of you who love geraniums, I recently read about a new technique you might want to try. Geraniums have thick, succulent stems which give them the ability to survive through the winter without soil. To over winter geraniums in a dormant state, dig up the entire plant before frost and gently shake the soil from the roots. Hang the plants upside-down from the rafters in your attic or in the basement where it is cool and dark. For best results, the temperature should be 45 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit.

Two or three times during the winter, take the plants down from the rafters and soak the roots in water for 1 or 2 hours. Don't be concerned if the foliage dies and falls off, as long as the stems remain firm and solid. Squishy or shriveled stems should be removed. In March or April, pot up the remaining healthy geraniums in containers. Water them well and prune out any dead stem tips. Place potted plants in a sunny window to encourage new growth. After the danger of frost has passed, plant the geraniums outdoors.

Autumn is the ideal time to plant trees and shrubs. Planting in the fall gives them plenty of time to get established before the weather gets hot in the summer. It's a little too dry to plant anything just yet but hopefully the rain will come soon so fall planting will be feasible.  In winter, tree injury can occur from intense sun on the trunk during the day and dramatic temperature drops at night, causing the tree trunk to split. This type of injury is frequently referred to as sunscald. Young, newly planted trees should be wrapped with tree wrap before Thanksgiving to protect them for the first two or three years. The need for wrapping decreases as the tree ages and the bark 'thickens.' Sapling fruit trees are vulnerable to sunscald, as well as lindens, honey locusts, ashes, oaks, maples, and willows. Just be sure to remove the wrapping each spring.

We appreciate our sponsors and supporters.

Lockerly Arboretum  1534 Irwinton Road, Milledgeville, GA   478.452.2112  
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