October E-News from Viette's                       Volume 11: No. 10

Lori Jones, Editor                                                                                          October/2015

Fall garden colorful sourwood
October is a "COOL" Month in the garden!

Get outside and enjoy
the cool, crisp weather
and the beautiful fall colors!
It's the perfect time to ...
  • plant spring bulbs
  • plant trees, shrubs, and perennials
  • divide peonies and iris
  • tidy your flower beds
  • decorate for the season
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All potted daylilies, hosta, and peonies in our garden center!

Through October
Plant of the Month
Butterflies flock to Helianthus blooms in the fall.
Butterflies flock to Helianthus blooms in the fall.
Beautiful & colorful late bloomers!

Helianthus is one of my favorite late summer and fall blooming plants. It is native to North America and though most species are perennial, the most familiar species, the large flowering common sunflower (Helianthus annuus), is an annual. This species has been hybridized extensively and now there are lots of wonderful varieties with tremendous color variations available for the garden.
Large Sunflowers
Giant sunflowers provide food for the birds through the fall and winter.
The sunflower variety 'Florenza' is bright and beautiful.
The sunflower variety 'Florenza'
is bright and beautiful.

A great addition to your sunny perennial garden
Many beautiful perennial
varieties of Helianthus are available as well. These are less well known and sadly, I think underutilized in our perennial gardens. My favorites are the very tall Helianthus angustifolius and the slightly shorter, but equally striking Helianthus salicifolius. Both of these species form robust clumps of attractive foliage that make a wonderful backdrop for other perennial flowers and some of the shorter ornamental grasses. The masses of dazzling golden yellow flowers that appear in September are almost neon in their intensity. They really stand out from a distance!
Hellianthus salicifolius produces masses of vibrant yellow blooms.
Helianthus salicifolius produces masses of vibrant yellow blooms.

Butterfly Magnets
Butterflies of all kinds find the masses of yellow flowers irresistible in the fall. Your garden will literally come alive with the flitting of these colorful visitors. Bees, too, enjoy the sweet nectar of the sunflowers.
Monarch butterfly visits Helianthus
Monarch butterfly visits Helianthus salicifolius 
Many Choices 
There are many wonderful varieties of perennial sunflowers. A beautiful tall variety, Helianthus angustifolius 'Gold Lace' grows from 5-6 feet tall. This attractive perennial virtually "explodes" with vivid golden-yellow blooms in the early fall. This is a stunning addition to any sunny garden if you have the space!
Need a shorter variety? Helianthus salicifolius 'First Light' is a mere 48" tall! Shorter still is the dwarf  Helianthus 'Low Down' which tops out at only 18" tall. There are many other wonderful cultivars available and they are all terrific in the garden. 
Helianthus 'Low Down'
Helianthus 'Low Down'
Growing Helianthus
Helianthus are easy to grow because they aren't too picky! They prefer full sun and grow best in moist, well-drained soil but they will tolerate a wide range of soil conditions except very dry soils. Sometimes the taller varieties need staking especially if they are not growing in full sun. To avoid this, they can be cut back by half or a third of their height in June. This not only keeps them more compact and bushy in the garden, but also improves flowering by allowing more flowering stems to be produced.
Sunflower orients to the sun
A colorful sunflower is
visited by a honeybee
Helianthus are stunning when grown en masse in a large perennial border, although they produce such a profusion of blooms that even a single specimen in a smaller garden makes quite an impact! They combine well with ornamental grasses, asters, daylilies, Rudbeckia, goldenrods, Russian sage, coneflowers, and the vibrant blue late blooming Salvia azurea
Helianthus combines well with many other fall bloomers.
Helianthus combines well with
many other fall bloomers.

Wander through our gardens this fall and see how these very colorful perennials can brighten your garden every fall! 
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Andre  answers a listener's question during a broadcast of 'In the Garden'

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One of Andre's beautiful outside Christmas displays
Save the Dates!
Christmas Decorating Workshops

Friday, 12/4 - 10:30 AM
Saturday, 12/5 - 1:30 PM
Sunday, 12/6 - 1:30 PM
Wednesday, 12/9 - 1:30 PM 
Tip of the Month
Fall is Here!
Chrysanthemum 'Viette's Apricot Glow' is a super hardy fall It's time to start some fall garden chores! 
Fall is an amazing season filled with colorful leaves, hot apple cider, and the anticipation of the first snow;  then comes winter, the season of snow and ice. As winter comes to an end, you begin to crave the beauty and color of spring.

But wait!
What has happened to your beautiful gardens?  They're full of weeds, your prized dahlias are dead, and your evergreen shrubs are all brown and shriveled. So, you go to the tool shed to perform damage control, only to find that all your tools are rusty and their handles are cracked. You ask yourself, "Why did this happen to me?" 
answer is simple; you forgot to winterize your garden and care for your tools.
Preparing your lawn, garden, and tool shed for winter is an essential fall activity that starts in September and lasts through December.
Water Deeply
Rhododendron leaves curl up as the temperatures drop.
Broadleaf evergreens may need supplemental water in winter
One of the most important things you can do to prepare your lawn and flower beds for winter is to give them a deep and thorough watering before the ground freezes. This will provide the plants with the water they need to survive through winter.

Remember, unless there is snow cover, it is important to water your plants during prolonged dry spells in the winter (longer than 2 weeks) to avoid damage to roots and evergreen foliage due to dehydration and desiccating winds. The best time to water in the winter is in the middle of the day and when temperatures are above 40ºF. 
Fertilize with Organic Fertilizer
Fertilize your beds in the fall with a slow-release organic fertilizer such as Espoma Plant-tone or Holly-tone. André prefers organic fertilizers because they distribute nutrients evenly over time, preventing plants from growing too early in the winter or spring. He doesn't recommend inorganic fertilizers since they tend to work very quickly, jump starting growth too early.

Cutting Back Perennials
When your perennials have finished blooming for the year, you can cut them back and compost the foliage. It is not necessary to do this in the fall but many gardeners enjoy cleaning the garden at this time to make it look tidier through the fall and winter months.
  Some perennials SHOULD be cut back in the fall: 
  • Powdery mildew on Phlox
    Cut back plants with obvious disease problems.
    Any plant foliage that looks diseased, has powdery mildew, or insect damage should be cut back and the foliage should be bagged up and placed in the trash. This plant material should never be composted because it could contaminate your garden next year.
  • It is especially important to cut back and throw out peony foliage as peonies are prone to fungal diseases.
  Some plants SHOULD NOT be cut back in the fall:
  • Do not cut back ornamental grasses, Buddleia, crape myrtle, Callicarpa, or Caryopteris until spring.
    • Ornamental grasses should be cut close to the ground in early spring before growth begins. 
    • Buddliea cut back to 12 inches
      Cut Buddleia back in the spring
      After the threat of cold weather in the spring, prune the above listed shrubs back to live green wood or down to about 12"-18". 
    • Prune crape myrtle later in the spring after new growth begins so you can identify and remove any winter killed branches before you do any pruning of live wood. 
  • If you want, leave the stems of taller sedums, ornamental grasses, and the seed pods of Yucca, poppies, and Siberian Iris because they look nice throughout winter even after their flowers are gone.
Weed Your Beds
Fall is a great time for weeding! Weeds can act as both reservoirs and alternate hosts for a wide variety of insect pests and diseases that plague our gardens. Plus, by doing your weeding in the fall, you get a great head start on spring weeds and will hopefully prevent many of the current weeds from seeding.
Mulch Your Beds
Mulching is highly recommended to keep plants from heaving and to protect the crowns of more tender plants.  Mulch is great for keeping down weeds and keeping the soil evenly moist throughout winter. A layer of mulch will also help prevent the freezing and thawing of the soil that can cause the heaving of herbaceous perennials and newly planted trees and shrubs. You can use anything from bark to pine needles. 
Protect Your Evergreens
Winter burn on Nandina foliage
Winter burn on Nandina foliage
your evergreen shrubs from drying in the bitter winds of winter. Boxwood and junipers are particularly prone to wind burn. Spray the foliage of broad-leaved evergreen shrubs in exposed positions with an anti-desiccant spray such as Bonide Wilt Stop. Wilt Stop protects evergreens from winter injury by forming a soft, clear flexible film over the leaves. Wilt Stop also protects evergreens from salt damage which can occur when you have a hedge near a road where salt is spread during the winter.
It is too early to do this now but put it on your gardening calendar for later this fall. Read the label and apply according to the label directions.
This container of tropicals can be overwintered in a frost-free garage.
Overwinter your tropicals
Overwintering Tender Perennials and Tropicals
nightly temperatures begin to go below 55°F, it is important to move any tender bulb perennials and tropical plants indoors. Tender bulbs include dahlias, cannas, gladiolus, calla lilies, and Caladium. Store bulbs as recommended by the grower.
Your Tool Shed

Take an afternoon to organize your tool shed.  

  • Inventory your supply of herbicides, fungicides, and pesticides. Make sure they are well sealed in their original containers and locked in an area protected from freezing temperatures and away from curious children and pets.
  • Clean dirt off tools to prevent them from rusting. Sharpen any tools that need it. Tools with wooden handles should be rubbed down with a mixture of two parts boiled linseed oil to one part paint thinner or turpentine to keep them from cracking.
  • Drain the gas from all machines.  Interestingly enough, winter is the best time to service your lawn mower and tiller. There is typically a much quicker turn around time in winter and since you won't need them, it's much more convenient for you.
From the Viette's Views Blog ...    
Fruit of autumn olive   09-22-2015 11:48:12 AM
This was the title of a question posted on our Discussion Board several weeks ago. Here is the post: What is the name of the invasive species of small bush/tree with thousands of little red berries, and is spreading like kudzu? It grows two or three inches a day seems like, and is dominating every [...]...»

From the Viette's Views Archives...
   I noticed this just the other day on my way to work. These spiders are fascinating!
Spiders in the Rug ... Juniper that is!

Webs of funnel weaver spiders Our next door neighbor has planted his bank along the road with blue rug juniper. The other morning when I drove by, I noticed that these junipers were covered with a patchwork of spider webs. It was really neat looking and I had to stop to snap a few pics with my phone. Actually several of our neighbors have landscaped the roadside bank with these low growing junipers and [...]...»
Time to Divide Peonies! 
Peony Henry Bockstoce
September and October are the best times to dig, divide, and transplant peonies 
Peonies are the "aristocrat" of the perennial garden with their showy profusion of beautiful flowers.  They are long-lived, reliable, and make good cut flowers. 
However, over time, peony clumps can become overgrown and "tired". They may begin to produce fewer and fewer blooms. These older peonies will benefit from being divided. Digging and dividing is a great way to rejuvenate these wonderful plants.  
best time to divide peonies is in September or October after they begin to go dormant. When the foliage starts to turn from yellow to brown, they can safely be dug and divided. If your peonies are growing and blooming well where they are planted, there is no need to divide them.
Digging peony clump
Digging a peony clump
How do you divide peonies?
First cut the stems back and then carefully dig around and under the peony keeping as much of the root system as possible. Be sure to dig a wide circle so you avoid cutting through the roots. 
Washing peony clump
Washing peony clump

remove the soil from around the roots and the eyes. Be very careful not to break or damage the eyes as these will become the flowering stems for the spring season. One of the easiest and "safest" ways to clean the roots is to wash soil out of the clump with a garden hose.

Once the clump is washed, use hand shears to cut the old stems all the way back to the root. Again, be careful not to damage the new buds that have formed.

Peony eyes
Peony eyes
You will notice 2 sizes of buds or "eyes"  on the roots after the soil is washed off. The large, fat, sometimes pinkish eyes will produce the blooming stems for next spring. The very small white eyes are vegetative eyes and will produce the stems and flowers the following spring.

Cut the clump into divisions with at least 3-5 blooming eyes each and a good root system. This will provide a blooming plant in a shorter time. Peonies will often not bloom in the first spring after they have been divided.
Cutting a nice peony division
Cutting a peony division
A nice peony division
A nice division
To help with disease and insect control, dip the peony roots in a 10% bleach solution (1 part bleach to 9 parts water) and then let them dry before replanting.

Replant the divisions in an area that receives full sun.
a generous hole and amend the soil with Espoma Plant-tone, rock phosphate, and Greensand according to the label directions.

Be sure to place the plant with the eyes facing up and plant so the eyes are no more than 1"-2" below the soil surface. Peonies will not bloom well if they are planted too deep. 
Do not mulch peonies as this can cause crown rot.
 There is still time to order
bare root peonies for
beautiful spring flowers!
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out our Peony Photo Gallery 
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Travel with Andre and Claire Viette in 2016!  
Budapest on the banks of the Danube
Budapest on the banks of the Danube
The Imperial Gardens  
and Treasures Tour
September 18 - October 1, 2016

Featuring the Imperial worlds of the
German and Austro-Hungarian Empires
Visit Hungary, Austria,
the Czech Republic, and Germany

Tour highlights include:
Budapest - Enjoy a guided tour of this beautiful city on the Danube; visit a botanical garden; spend a day in the Puszta - land of the Hungarian cowboys and be treated to an equestrian show and gypsy music   
Vienna - From Budapest, we will travel up the Danube by hydrofoil boat to Vienna where you will see the famous Lipizzaner Stallions, the Schönbrunn Gardens, and enjoy a concert of Strauss and Mozart at the  Schönbrunn Palace  
Berlin's River Spree
Cruising on Berlin's River Spree
Prague - We then travel north to Prague by way of the scenic Wachau Valley. Tour Prague, its famous castle, the Charles Bridge, and magnificent gardens. End the day with a three-hour cruise on the Vltava River! 
Berlin - On the way to Berlin, we will stop at the city of Dresden. In Berlin, relax on a cruise on the River Spree, enjoy a candlelight dinner and concert at the Charlottenburg palace, and take a walking tour of Berlin. You can even opt to join Andre and Claire on a visit to the largest private botanical garden in Europe.
Andre will give a series of gardening presentations throughout the trip.

Space is limited to 42 persons so this trip will fill up fast!


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