After two field trips this summer, the Kankakee Kultivators hosted a panel discussion at their first meeting in fall 2021. The topic of discussion was “Our Favorite Fall Gardening Tips – How to Keep Gardens Looking Good After the Summer? summer and then put your garden to bed for the winter. Here are some of the tips offered to club members.
• From Lois Ware: Now is a good time to divide the plants and then plant your new divisions as soon as possible. Clean them up by cutting off unsightly or extra tops and excess roots that might interfere with the ones you want to encourage. It will stimulate growth. Don’t worry or be very careful or a perfectionist; your plants will tolerate this process. They will be fine.
• From Marlène BeDell: To make it easier to move plants like canna lilies and geraniums indoors when the weather outside is almost too cold for them, simply let them grow in their pots all year round. Before the first fall frost, you can prune them, water them a bit, and move them to a heated garage or other space at around 40 degrees, where they’ll be fine all winter without watering (or maybe with a few drops very rarely). Sure, they dry out and end up looking dead, but when you take them outside again after the last frost of spring and start watering them again, they will turn green and bloom. No digging; no transplanting.
• From Donna Karlock: Marlene’s suggestion also works particularly well for potted herb gardens. I did as Marlene describes it, but in the winter I keep my little herb garden thriving indoors. It does well with normal room temperature and sunlight. I know some gardeners dig their herb pots into their flower beds during the growing season so that the crowns of the plants are level with the ground as they would be if planted in the ground outside. The pots are not displayed. Then, before the first fall frost, they can just be popped out of their holes – pots and all – when it’s time to move them indoors. Of course, you’ll want to sprinkle these herbs on so they’re green and flavorful for your salads and cooking all winter long.
• From Jan Alleman: Remember to water all your shrubs, and especially trees, before winter sets in. They need this extra moisture to prevent drying out and breakage during drying winter winds. Also, don’t forget that this is the time to plan and plant bulbs for a beautiful landscape next spring. Growers have a favorite source that they have been ordering bulbs from for years.
• From Karma Johnson: Many mothers do not spend the winter. When I asked for secrets to keeping them alive, we all learned that finding the word hardy on their sales labels is crucial when buying moms. Without the claim that a mom is sturdy, you can almost count that it will only be a year old.
• Relevant additional tips from other members: Wintering as described by Marlene also works very well for dahlias and begonias. Sawdust is an excellent medium for these tubers and rhizomes. Now is a great time to find inexpensive plants in stores. It is also an opportunity to do a little pruning.
To receive a catalog that includes helpful instructions, tips for further grouping, all the information you need to manage blooming in the spring and, of course, gorgeous, lifelike color images, call 815-932-9452. (Not a fundraiser, just a service to other gardeners.)
The highlights of the Kultivators
The club members would like to thank Dr Derek Rosenberger for the extremely interesting afternoon they spent together in the UN meadow next to Perry Farm, behind (west of) Fortin Villa on the Olivet campus. There, Olivet’s students and faculty planted over 2 acres of native plants, around 90 species that likely populated the area in its original state hundreds of years ago. This space is open to the public for viewing.
In July, club members also visited the Hamstra Garden in Wheatfield, Indiana. Both trips are recommended by the club.
Of course, the Kultivators are thrilled with the attention and appreciation the public has given to their scarecrow display at Perry Farm. Annette Kurzejka and Sondra Vickery deserve well-deserved credit for their creativity and hard work on the Kultivators’ award-winning display.
Next on the calendar
On Thursday, the Kultivators will take off for a final field trip in 2021. They will travel to Hobart, Indiana, to enjoy Line Orchard County.
The Kankakee Kultivators invite all interested persons, members or not, to come and enjoy the entertainment and educational opportunities offered by the programs during their meetings, which are usually held in the 4th floor auditorium of the Kankakee Public Library. at noon on the second Thursday of each month, from February to November. Anyone wishing to work with club members to carry out the association’s missions is invited to join.