Good Practices For Garden Cleanliness

By Thomas Fryd

Roses need to be "winterized" for the season. The bushes should be checked closely for dead or diseased wood which should be removed; competing branches that cross or rub need to be corrected; it is also wise to remove or shorten unusually long canes that might be injured by high winds or snow and ice.

Faded blooms and unopened buds killed by frost should be removed, and it might be well to remove the few remaining scraggly leaves in this fall clean-up. Paint any cuts with a pliable tree paint to prevent dehydration or the entrance of disease or cane borers. An application of two cups of slow-acting bone meal dug into the soil around each plant will be available when growth starts in early spring. Soil can be pulled up around the base of the canes to provide protection against severe freezing. Although planting is recommended in some areas, it is not best in the South of mid-America. February is the most desirable time for planting or replanting of roses.


In removing the killed tops of these plants, leave about two inches of stem. These stubs will help mark the permanent plantings. Many successful gardeners remove about one inch of the top soil around perennials and replace with a top dressing of clean sand as a sanitary measure. This is good practice for garden cleanliness.

Dormant root perennials just like philodendron plants can be planted throughout this month. Many are available at the local seed stores and plant houses. Peonies are available and should be planted this month. Select the three to five eye divisions for best results. In planting, remember they are heavy feeders. Supply them with a good amount of available plant food. Keep the tubers out of direct contact with manure or commercial fertilizer as rotting can be caused by it.

Window Boxes

These can be kept bright and exciting all winter by planting with dwarf evergreens or young evergreens that can be transplanted to a permanent location in the spring. Even tips of evergreen branches can be plunged into the soil of window boxes where they will make a pleasing show for weeks at a time. Plan regular displays of permanent materials throughout the winter in an otherwise uninteresting area.

A Thanksgiving theme for November, Christmas for December, snow scenes for January, and on and on - this is another chance to interest the child or provide an interesting "window scape" for a shut-in. With a little imagination, window boxes can become a wonderful part of garden activities. - 29857

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