Garden Tool Care & Sharpening Class
October 19 @ 9:00 am – 12:00 pm
Learn tips and techniques for keeping your gardening tools in top shape. This special class will provide information for all levels of experience in sharpening and caring for gardening tools.
Pre-registration is required for this class due to pre-ordering of supplies. For additional information, go to the Events Calendar.
November 2 @ 9:30 am – 11:30 am
All gardens will be open for your personal enjoyment as you tour.
|The mission of the Montgomery County Master Gardener Association is to educate the community through fellowship and demonstration using research-based gardening information.|
Flower of the Month
Amaranthus is an often forgotten flowering plant for our gardens because it needs to be started from seed. If you have this plant in your garden, it will produce plenty of seeds to gather for next year; this plant will probably come up in your garden the next year on its own.
Amaranthus is a showy and exotic plant, ideal for beds and borders. Amaranthus is also called Amaranth, Tampala, Tassel Flower, Flaming Fountain, Fountain Plant, Joseph’s Coat, Love-lies-bleeding, Molten Flower, Prince’s Feather and Summer Poinsettia.
The plant is large and bushy, growing up to about 3 to 4 feet tall. Many Amaranthus species are grown as leafy vegetables, cereals, or ornamental plants. It usually serves as an annual ornamental, but its leaves and seeds are edible with nutritional properties. The world has recently rediscovered the nutritional properties of Amaranthus.
A native of South America, the amaranthus’ name is derived from the Greek amarantos, which means “unfading”, an appropriate reference to the flower’s long-lasting deep red, green or yellow blooms.
It’s easy to grow from seeds. For strong, vibrant bloom colors, keep the plant in the sun. Amaranthus does not require special soil or a fertilizer schedule, and it’s relatively drought tolerant.
October in the Garden
Temperatures, hopefully, will have settled into the 80’s for highs and 60’s for lows by the time mid-October rolls around. We need to begin preparation for colder weather and some dormancy of plants as well as planting fall and winter plants in vegetable gardens and flower beds.
- Plant flowers from seeds or bedding plants of alyssum, calendula, cornflower, dianthus, larkspur, lobelia, ornamental kale and cabbage, petunia, snapdragon, and stock.
- Divide and transplant spring blooming perennials such as daylilies, Shasta daisies, violets, wood ferns, cannas and
- Clean out dead stuff from your garden and flower beds. Put in your compost bin
- Plant trees, shrubs, rose bushes and perennials.
- Plant strawberries for spring harvestin
- Plant cool weather herbs like cilantro, dill, fennel, and parsley.
- Seed quick growing cool season vegetables like carrots, lettuce, radishes, and spinach. Set out transplants of broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, cabbage, kohlrabi.
- Get your soil tested and add amendments as needed.
- Amend your soil with a good dressing of compost.
- Turn your compost pile.
- Use your garden debris and leaves to start a new compost pile.
- Dry and save seeds.
- Harvest and dry or freeze herbs for winter use.
- Clean and sharpen garden tools.
Critter of the Month
Earwigs are part of a large group of creatures that are actually sanitary engineers. Earwigs help clean up our environment by feeding on decaying plant material and live and dead insects. Earwigs help to break down this material just like millipedes, pillbugs, and sowbugs do.
Earwigs may look scary with their pincers, or forceps, sticking out from their abdomen. They are NOT. Earwigs can use their forceps to pinch your finger if they get agitated, but earwigs do not sting or bite and they have no venom.
Earwigs get their name from a long-standing myth claiming the earwig can climb inside a person’s ear and either live there or feed on the person’s brain. Any small insect can climb inside your ear; the earwig does not do this any more than other small insects do. Earwigs do not feed on human brain or lay their eggs in a person’s ear canal.
The earwigs don’t die in the winter; they hibernate during cold months either as an adult or as an egg that has not yet hatched. Earwigs have been known to tunnel 6 feet below the soil surface to escape the cold.
Earwigs make up the insect order Dermaptera. With about 2000 species in 12 families, Dermaptera is one of the smaller insect orders.
Earwigs can be found on every continent except Antarctica.
Earwigs are mostly nocturnal and often hide in small, moist areas during the day. They are active at night, feeding on a wide variety of insects and plants. Damage to foliage, flowers and various crops is commonly blamed on earwigs.
Step Into Our Gardens….
By Pat Sheridan, Master Gardener
A garden organized around a unifying theme is a theme garden. Ideas for theme gardens are limitless. There are Japanese gardens, butterfly gardens, rose gardens, and vegetable gardens, to name just a few. Here at the AgriLife Extension, we have several examples of theme gardens: the children’s discovery garden, the square foot garden, the fairy garden, and the culinary herb garden, and more.
Checkout the Shakespeare Garden…
Within the Herb Area lies the Shakespeare Garden:
“I know a bank where the wild thyme blows…” A Midsummer Night’s Dream
“Rosemary, that’s for remembrance…” Ophelia
“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose…” Romeo and Juliet
Did you know that herbs and other plants were frequently mentioned in the plays and sonnets of William Shakespeare? It seems that he was very knowledgeable of the characteristics and uses of many plants. In his day (the 1600s), plants had symbolic significance. Every mention is thought to be important to the story. His writings speak about more than 30 different herbs and flowers and the settings were sometimes in gardens.
Our Shakespeare garden features bronze fennel, creeping thyme, chamomile, yarrow, rosemary, bay laurel, tansy, rue, the red rose, but plants may vary with the season and weather conditions. We even have a bust of old Will himself to watch over the plants in his garden.
Some well- known public gardens in America that contain areas dedicated to Shakespeare are located in Central Park in New York City, Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, and on the Folger Shakespeare Library grounds, Washington, D.C. Closer to home, Festival Hill and Mercer Botanical Gardens are worth a visit.