Will we have an early winter?

Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

'Chardonnay' seems very flexible. It was on the northwest side of my property before. Now it's due south. In both cases it had protection from the rear but it performs wonderfully here and it did there.

Nine feet! Whoa. Hard to miss! I had not heard of it, so I just googled it. Supposedly it grows 4-6 feet. Something in the water there?

Hobart, IN

I normally keep 'Magicien' at around 5 ft. When I trimmed out "dead" stuff, I trimmed only back to the main stem, not to the ground. The height sure makes more of a statement but I'll have to see how it comes through the winter that tall. Too much pruning always made it look awkward and unnatural.

Hobart, IN

Still have a hummingbird hanging around. Saw it yesterday and today. Luckily, I still have blooming zinnias, hostas and dahlias for it and did leave out the feeders although they don't contain fresh nectar. I am surprised it's still here but I did have a smaller newcomer in late summer. Maybe it's trying to bulk up a little more before heading south.
Breezy here today and chilly but tomorrow will be warmer - good day for bringing in more plants. And hoping my 8 or 9 summer squashes will put on a bit more growth this week before it gets too cold again. Accuweather says it'll hit a low of 30 around the 17th so will have to make sure everything's in by then.

Hobart, IN

Whoa, Gene - any comments on your winter forecast after last night??? :) No snow on the ground this morning although I wouldn't have been surprised since it rained, sleeted and snowed during the 5 to 7pm hours. And the wind was vicious yesterday afternoon. Hardly any trick-or-treaters here. DGDs are dividing up left over candy (lots).

Portage, WI(Zone 5a)

Ground was white yesterday morning (went away of course.). 19 last night here. Gene

Hobart, IN

A killing frost for the annuals last night. I'll now have to dig up dahlias and cannas. Between 2 ft drifts of fall leaves and a bumper crop of acorns, I guess I know what I'll be doing this week.

Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

Yep, we got the killing frost too. I pulled out one salvia elegans but the other is toast. Oddly, salvia viridis did fine but salvia coccinea did not.

I have neighbors with trees over my property, and I have spent dozens of hours getting rid of their leaves. I don't mind the oaks as much as the walnut trees and nuts. I am primarily concerned about the oak leaves smothering my plants. The fourth two foot pile is out by the curb; happily the community picks them up. I am going to have an arborist prune back both trees to the property line, since one person can see literally thousands of leaves on my driveway and pretends not to. Last year I pruned back the section of the walnut tree that was literally laying on my roof. Next year I will take more drastic measures, and go to the property line.

It's really annoying because I have only one shade tree in my actual yard, while the crud from the sky falls from five other trees in other peoples' yards. One maple is rotting. And they aren't cared for, so periodically limbs as long as 20 feet come down. Last year I paid to prune part of the rotting maple, and told the people who live there that it will inevitably fall, and that they could save some money if I paid toward the entire removal by paying for the pruning. But no. The good part is now that I paid to prune their tree, when branches come down I just heave them over the fence into their yard. Since I paid to prune it, they don't dare complain.

I just have one more hydrangea to in, and it's going where the salvia came out. About 9 more lilies and my tulips to go, and that will be it. I was concerned about this coming winter, and I started about six weeks ago.

Please weather, be nice!

Anderson, IN(Zone 6a)

We got that frost last night also ,, Only a dahlia or two to lift . My ice plant in a pot , a basil or two for the kitchen , brought in a few days ago
well , cold weather is back . 50 degrees sunny and nice here this afternoon ..

.

Monroe, WI(Zone 4b)

Donna, I do not think you should worry about the oak leaves smothering your plants. I had a nursery person tell me to mulch the newly planted spring bulb bed with oak leaves because "they don't mat."

Hobart, IN

Anna - hate to tell you but oak leaves mat horribly. And they're slow to break down because of the waxy coating on them. They're not too bad if shredded.
That being said, I have a few different varieties of native oaks in my yard and this year was a bumper crop of acorns. I lamented when my neighbor cut down a perfectly good hickory tree right on our property line. I bought a house in a wooded area because I like the native trees. To me, it's worth the extra work raking leaves and acorns to have the shade in the summer. Much better than a house in a subdivided corn field.

Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

It's sweet of you two to be so concerned. What I am doing is gently lifting the oak leaves from my plants. To be honest, I find them pretty. And for whatever reason the acorns are scare this year, after a bumper crop last year. They only concern me because I spend a lot of time in the yard and they are slippery. The leaves themselves are really lovely. The walnuts leaves are bad, because they disintegrate into dust and appear to be dirt.

Cindy, I know exactly what you mean by a subdivided corn field. I lived in Lake County, the land of the former farm. At my previous house we had clay soil over hardpan. The developers rake off the good top soil and then throw a little dirt on it. Happily there was an organic farm that gave us free compost in exchange for our kitchen scraps, so I spent year composting spring and fall, and the soil was wonderful.

But the heat was gross and unrelenting. You had to grow your own shade. I put in shade and ornamental trees because I had 95% sun. On 90 degree days, which we had many of, it was brutal.

Now I have sun east and south, with shade being about 45%, some of it dappled (my favorite kind). I was forced to remove a 40 foot splitting Bradford pear, and replaced it with a much smaller paperbark maple, which gave me the ability to add some roses and peonies to the west side, which is lovely. I can garden in the afternoon! It's a real pleasure. I have a client who has about 85% sun, and there are days when I think I'm going to keel over after two hours. But in my own yard, I simply move to the north and west sides. I can literally garden all day in the summer if I like! It would be great if my neighbors were a little more considerate. But I certainly won't have a stroke getting leaves out of the yard!

And Juhur, we got that frost too. 27 degrees at 6:00 a.m.. But 50 by noon.

Hobart, IN

Yep - acorns are slippery. I've had to rake them up twice so far. Glad we don't get crops like this every year.

Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

How weird. They were everywhere last year. Thousands and thousands. There are very few this year. But then my neighbors don't take care of their trees.

Also, last year there were so many walnuts that I would come out in the morning to run, remove about 100 from my driveway, and an hour later when I came back there would be a hundred more. And then I would have to pick up a similar number by the end of the day. This year I have picked up less than a dozen. And the damned tree is almost bare of its noxious leaves, so the worst is over.

Maybe it's because he throws all of his yard debris under it (on my side of the yard where I can see it. I think that he is slowly suffocating the tree, which will tak care of everything in the longer term.

Hobart, IN

Back in the fall of 2012, we were all scratching our heads trying to figure out why there were hardly any acorns. Thought there was a climate thing or a disease affecting numerous oaks. Last year there were a few more but this year - sounds like artillery fire hitting our roof. Maybe a response to the brutal winter we had? No walnut trees here but do have shag bark hickories. DGD and I discovered that we could eat the ripe nuts and that syrup can be made from the bark.

Anderson, IN(Zone 6a)

When I hear stories like that I think of Elmer fudd , cartoons .. lol Fill the garage , fill the furniture ,, Squirrels in the atttic ,, Not as funny as it sounds ,, lol ?

and My fruit trees ,, guess the year ..

Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

We had an absolutely horrible winter. But I have perhaps 10% of the walnuts I had last year. I'm puzzled.

Hobart, IN

I did hear a podcast yesterday that mentioned that nut trees don't reliably produce every year, sometimes a few years between large crops. Makes a little sense from what I've seen here. And having a few different oak varieties I wouldn't expect them to all be in synch with producing acorns.

Hobart, IN

gasrocks - any ideas about how the rest of the winter will go? This cold chill was really unexpected and really affected my psyche. No spring, no fall - ugh. Do hope it rains some this weekend as it's been dry here.

Monroe, WI(Zone 4b)

Well, ya know, TECHNICALLY it is still fall..................LOL

Hobart, IN

So - below normal precip, huh? Will take the opportunity tomorrow to water a few evergreens still recovering from last winter. Only good thing about last winter is that we had more than decent snow cover. :)

Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

It went into the 50's today after several days in the 20's (BRRRRR) and 30's, so I took advantage of it to remove most of the remaining leaves, cut back lots of nepeta and salvia and compost the roses. It's supposed to snow soon and our last free leaf pickup day is this coming Wednesday, so I was very grateful for the relative warmth.

Hobart, IN

Drizzly all day here so no leaf cleanup for me. Some of our oaks are still dropping leaves and the way my yard is situated, it catches a lot of wind-driven leaves so will put the cleanup off a bit and hope I get a fairly nice day. A lot of leaves placed at the curb by neighbors end up blown into my yard so I just haul them to the back compost pile instead. Still some things to be cut back but the plants will survive if I don't get to it. If left standing, the dead foliage will catch and hold some snow for cold cover. Was able to draw some rain water from my barrels and filled up containers to use for watering plants indoors. DH found the neatest electrical plug for my cold frame - has a built in thermostat so anything plugged into it will turn on at a certain temp and turn off at a certain temp. He rigged up a 75 watt light bulb to come on at 20 degrees and turn off at 30 degrees - just enough insurance to keep some small shrubs from cuttings happy through their first winter.

Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

Now THERE'S a man you should clone!

I planted seedling I had grown from harvested red peppers too late in the season. I was afraid that I would just have to let them go. But I have one of those portable fireplace things, so I put the four pots on my patio and set the unit to low (750 watts) and darn it if the peppers are continuing to grow - even when it was 20 degrees outside.

I am sorting though seeds to decided what to start germinating. Top of the list is probably a double platycodon, one of several seeds I received from dear Pam (pfg). I normally wait until January but I have my light units and snagged some seed starting mix, so.....

Hobart, IN

Donna - just watch for aphids on your pepper plants. I used to winter over ornamental peppers ('Black Pearl') in the little gh but they brought in so many aphids that I stopped. Even spraying them before bring the plants indoors didn't deter them. Same reason I gave up on Abutilon over winter.
Sheesh - the weather changed dramatically late this morning. The rain changed to horizontal snow when the wind picked up. Have some clay pots outdoors (thankfully empty) that I still need to stash indoors somewhere.
Looking forward to Black Friday - my day to not leave the house. Plan on going through seed inventory then and also not cooking. DH will have to settle for T-day leftovers - it's my rule. :)

Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

Oh yes, I know what you are saying, and wow it can be a battle (one you usually lose). I had to give up on brugmasia (really disgusting bugs no matter what I did - insecticidal soap, acephate, being soaked in the shower) but I have actually had an abutilon for two years that is unaffected. It's never been outside. I put the peppers in a quite cold garage for two weeks before bringing them in. I WAS concerned, and I will take your advice and watch them closely.

My inside fiends were were spider mites on miniature roses. I find that no amount of treatment works. I had to put them outside in near freezing weather to get rid of them.

Monroe, WI(Zone 4b)

Funny thing about brugs............I have some that are spider mite hotels, whitefly resorts, etc. And others that are not bothered at all. I have found that the ones that have the leaves that are a kind of a sage green and look a teeny bit fuzzy are bothered the least, if at all, by pests. Those leaves seem to be bigger too. Those that have the shinier, greener leaf (almost a "wet look" to the leaf) are, at times, inundated with various pests. Now, if someone could tell me WHY.............

Hobart, IN

So far, good experience with Azamax on some spider mites on my lemon tree last winter (indoors). And used it on all plants coming indoors.

Monroe, WI(Zone 4b)

I try to spray at least twice a month up in the greenhouse. I put the appropriate amount of concentrate in my water tank and spray it on with my watering nozzle. I can't get a decent plant coverage with those blasted hose-end deals. Most of the stuff I use is 1/2 oz. per gallon of water, so I put a quart in for 64 gallons. No muss, no fuss. I change out concentrates.........well, I try to at least every other time.

Hobart, IN

Anna - you must have a good size GH. Nice. For my little one, a dedicated spray bottle will do.
I did try to grow tomatoes in the GH in summer due to limited ground space with enough sun. Too hot and too dry in there in the summer. Plants grew to 8 ft but hardly any leaves due to pests and pots that were too small for greedy tomatoes. My inexperience was truly evident.

Monroe, WI(Zone 4b)

My greenhouse is 30x64. I have a business of overwintering large tropical plants for other people. I do not sell anything. I can't, and don't want to compete with WM and other places that sell. And I have no burning desire to deal with the public on a daily basis. Really, I am a VERY nice and friendly person, just don't want the hassle.

I pick up the clients' plants in the fall, deliver them in the spring, send them a bill and it is all done. I have had clients I have never SEEN............LOL

Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

Anna Z..

Spider mite hotels, white fly resorts. LOL!

PERFECT description.

Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

Anna, we crossposted. Your business sounds brilliant. A lot of people would probably like to use it. I have clients who toss expensive tropicals every year because they don't want to bother overwintering them.

Which means they spring for the purchase of good sized tropicals every year.

Monroe, WI(Zone 4b)

And I pick up and deliver. And still some people grouse about the price (and I don't get those back, they would rather buy new). I charge $40 per plant for the entire season. When it comes down to it, I have your plants longer than YOU have them. LOL

Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

It's a bargain! You pick up AND deliver AND take care of the plant so they don't have to replace it every year with a smaller one? My clients got a bunch of five gallon elephant ears and large caladiums. I took care of them all season (well, heaven forbid they should water and fertilize them, despite the fact that they are sitting on the deck where they spend half your time in the summer). They got quite large. I talked about bring them into the back of their 2.5 car garage and using old quilts. NAH! And now goodbye.

But then the same client got those huge plantings of tender perennials, like the ones you see in White Flower Farm catalogs, and then just left them in the driveway for three days. Ah, the reflective heat of a white garage and new asphalt. I couldn't stand it. I started watering them. Everyone around you knows that I tend your garden, so dead plants reflect upon me.

If you can throw away that much money you can pay me more!!!!

Monroe, WI(Zone 4b)

Yes, ma'am, I do that.

Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

What a great service They should be grateful.

Monroe, WI(Zone 4b)

Wish I could expand it a bit.

Hobart, IN

Anna - does sound like the perfect job. Donna - sadly some folks don't attach themselves to plants at all. My dad attached himself to every poinsettia he ever received. Some had to be close to 20 years old. Never did go through the routine in the fall to get them to bloom but he was just happy to get them alive through the winter in his basement.

Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

Cindy I think your Dad sounds wonderful!

Anna, I'd like to expand my gardening for clients a bit. I am moving into growing plants for them. I am about to start a few that one client and I have been talking about. And I introduces her to salvia farinacea last year. I didn't think there was anyone who didn't know about Victoria salvia but I am growing the blue and the blue and white (stratus) for her. I also want to introduce her to verbena b, and I found a very red farinacea (she loves red).

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