Floridians and gardeners can rejoice in the weather that we looked forward to all summer – low humidity and sunny warm days that close with lower evening temperatures.
Gardens like this weather, too, although we are now officially in our dry season. Remember to water newly planted annuals or perennials every day; landscape shrubs, every third day for a month.
Things to do this month: The crape myrtle has finished blooming, so prune off the seed pods; continue to plant the garden for winter color; and fertilize all fruit trees and water it in. I noticed my daylily leaves were more skimpy than a few months ago, so I fertilized them lightly too – same with the hibiscus – every branch is budded and ready to open. The hibiscus needs fertilizing monthly and they’ve been a bit neglected. A little acid fertilizer will keep their leaves a dark green, which has the chelated iron they need.
Ever want to have a citrus tree, but don’t have a large yard? Try growing it in a large container. This will naturally reduce the tree in size, as the roots are limited to the size of the container and the foliage also will be limited. If purchased in a 3-gallon pot, upgrade it to a 5-gallon pot, or slightly larger pot; this can be done as needed. At this point, a wheeled base on the pot might be necessary to roll it around the patio to offer shade where needed.
The jury is out on the fruit cocktail tree – this is a grafted tree that have several citrus fruits on its stock to provide tangerines, lemons and grapefruit. It would be an interesting patio tree, but just how long all the grafts will live is questionable.
Enjoy the winter garden – this is when the Florida gardener revels.
Events for garden enthusiasts:
• The Clearwater Garden Club will have its Grow and Share program on Friday, Oct. 21, 10 a.m., at 405 Seminole St. Penny Khaled, president of the Florida Herb Society, will speak on growing, preserving, culinary, cosmetic and decorative uses. Call 441-2719.
• The Pinellas Park Garden Club will have its first meeting for the 2005/06 season on Monday, Oct. 24, 10 a.m., in the Pinellas Park Station, 58th Street and Park Boulevard. The program is Grow and Share – Propagation of Plants. Members are asked to bring a plant for the monthly raffle. Dues are payable at this meeting. Call 563-9145.
• The Rare Plant Network will meet Tuesday, Oct. 25, 7:30 p.m., in the annex building at Church of Christ, 6045 Park Blvd., Pinellas Park. Call 541-4082.
• The Upper Pinellas African Violet Society will have its fall sale on Friday and Saturday, Oct. 28 and 29, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., at the Garden of Peace Lutheran Church’s Harvest Celebration. Member-grown violets and other gesneriads and supplies will be sold. The church is at 6161 22nd Ave. N., St. Petersburg. Call 398-7450 or e-mail email@example.com.
• Extension will offer Creepy Crawly Bugs, an educational program for children ages 5 and up, on Saturday, Oct. 29, 1 to 2 p.m., at the palm pavilion of The Florida Botanical Gardens, 1221 Walsingham Road. There is a fee of $1 and preregistration is required. Call 582-2671.
• Garden clubs and plant societies who would like to introduce their club to the public at GardenFest in the Florida Botanical Gardens on Saturday, Nov. 19, can call 580-6442.
Ruth Davies is a Pinellas County Master Gardener. Questions can be sent to her at editorial@TBNweekly.com.