September 2015

Lockerly Arboretum
September Newsletter

September Volunteer of the Month
Dick Mueller 

Our September Volunteer of the Month is Dick Mueller. Dick is an enthusiastic member of our Dirt Digger group. Like some of our Dirt Diggers, Dick isn't a Master Gardener. When he is in the Arboretum he usually takes on handyman jobs that require his skills. He says that with good instructions he enjoys putting seasonal plants in the ground and other garden chores.

Late last spring Dick took a walk through the wooded areas of the Arboretum and found some structures, such as our wooden bridges, that need some repairs. He is partnering with last month's volunteers, the Merry Magnolias, to make repairs now that the weather is more tolerable.

When he worked at Central State, Dick would bring his lunch to the Arboretum and listen to the birds while he ate. About 10 years ago he decided he wanted to give back to Lockerly since he had enjoyed coming here before he retired. We are indebted to Dick for his generous contributions of time and skills.

Repairs underway with help from Baldwin Builders
Baldwin Builders Supply generously donated lumber to the Arboretum for repairs to the gazebo steps and bridges. The repairs and improvements are truly a reflection of community support. The Merry Magnolias cleaned the bridges in advance of the repairs that Dick Mueller and Greg Eilers, our Education Director, will make shortly. We are most appreciative of support from Baldwin Builders Supply so we can keep things in good condition in the garden.

We had a great time celebrating Mainstreet Milledgeville
Led by Trustee and Education Chair Kathy Chandler, we had a great time during the Mainstreet Milledgeville event last month. Kathy painted our tree trunk and cut out all the leaves for our activity.

Lurline West and Sherrill Jones helped children with their leaves, and made sure tiny fingers were paint-free when they were done.

Staff and volunteers had fun giving out Lockerly stickers, seeing children who had been summer campers, and sharing information about the Arboretum and Rose Hill.

Dirt Diggers and Plant Collection Teams are back from vacation 
Dirt Diggers and Plant Collection Teams have taken some time off to enjoy vacations and stay out of the summer heat. Everyone is back to their regular volunteer schedules now that September has arrived.

Dirt Diggers meet on the first and third Wednesday of each month from 9:00-12:00. You don't have to be a Master Gardener, or a gardener at all, to be part of this group. Some Dirt Diggers come out to help with projects in the gardens that don't involve plants. If you are interested in helping in the Lockerly gardens, please join us then. 

On September 16th the Dirt Diggers will welcome our new Horticulture Director, Debbie Foster, to Lockerly. That morning we will meet in the Rose Hill classroom at 9:00.

Our Plant Collection Teams created their own team schedules. They meet twice a month in the mornings. 

We're discussing some field trips to some nearby places that are doing some unique things in their gardens or farms. Dirt Diggers are also considering some workshops and classes, including a wreath making class in November.

For more information about Dirt Diggers  or plant teams, contact Katherine Cummings at 478.452.2112 or email  

September Garden Tips
Recent mornings and evenings are finally bringing some relief from the heat and humidity of summer. It is always nice to look at the changes in the fluffy white clouds and the bit of crispness in the morning air and know that fall will soon be upon us. September is a great time to enjoy your garden. There are several tasks that you can do now that will help your garden be more successful.
Weeds such as Chickweed, Annual Bluegrass and the very plentiful, and some  believe attractive, Henbit germinate in the fall but wait until winter to start invading your turf and beds. Mid-September is a good time to apply a pre-emergence weed preventer. Many of these are available in a granular or liquid application.  Be sure to choose a product that is approved for your type of grass.
Remove dead growth from trees or shrubs but do not prune either of these in September.  Pruning sends a message to the plant to put out new growth.  If this growth does not have time to "harden off" before our first frost, it will likely be killed and can severely damage the plant. The process of "hardening off" is a transition period where new foliage is exposed to wind, sun and rain to toughen up the leaves and make them more able to withstand their new life. This process is also necessary when starting plants from seeds. The new seedlings need time outdoors before being planted in the ground.
Do you have perennial Lantana in your garden?  It is such a wonderful plant. There
are so many new cultivars on the market that come back year after year (perennial) and require minimum care. Plant it in full sun and it will give you a wonderful display of color and attract butterflies throughout the summer.  Now is the time to catch it on sale in the garden centers as it is winding down its floral display.  Remember to leave the dead foliage on the lantana plants all winter until the new plants start emerging in the spring.  Cutting off those tubular dead plant shoots in the winter will allow water to settle and freeze the plant crown, which often results in winter kill.
Fall is also a great time to divide perennials such as iris, daylilies and coneflowers. Perennials need to be divided and transplanted to keep them healthy and blooming. 
Purple Coneflower
Cut the foliage back about one-half before transplanting. 
The garden centers will be a buzz with bags of daffodils, hyacinth and other spring blooming bulbs along with flats of winter annuals like popular pansies. If you can't resist buying them now, store bulbs in a cool dry area. Wait until late October or early November, when night-time temperatures are consistently in the 60 degree range, before planting them. 
The vegetable garden is probably about exhausted from the summer heat and lack of regular rain.  Bell peppers may still keep producing until frost so keep them alive.  If your tomatoes are still healthy, you might still get a few fruit now that the temperatures are down. Otherwise, it is a great time to clean up debris from the garden and prepare your list for winter vegetables such as cabbage, lettuce, spinach, turnips, carrots, broccoli, and the list goes on. One great thing about living in the South is our ability to grow healthy home grown vegetables almost all year long.

If this list is just overwhelming and your time is too short to get these things accomplished, let me give you the most important task for the September garden;  Get out of the house and enjoy the world of plants.  Visit Lockerly Arboretum to see a variety of plants that will do well in our climate. Make your list and get ready for fall planting in October and November.

Shawn Davis
Chair, Lockerly Plant Collection Project
Master Gardener Volunteer Coordinator, Putnam County Extension Office
Mark your calendar
Rose Hill will be decorated for the holidays with lots of fresh greenery for our Holiday Party on Friday, December 4th from 5:00-7:00 in the evening. On Saturday, December 5th we'll have guided tours of the mansion with extended hours. Mark your calendar today and check our web site for details about the party and mansion tours, because December will be here before you know it.
Schedule update
On Saturday, September 12th we will be open on Saturdays from 9:00-1:00. Now that cooler weather is returning, come out and enjoy the walking trails, or take a self-guided tour of Rose Hill on a Saturday. 
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