by Debbie Clark
⦁ November and December are good times to reflect on what problems or positive things that happened in your garden. Start a garden journal and make notes on what you would like to improve on for next year or what problems that you might have had like disease, drought, etc.

⦁ If you have not done this, consider going to your local County Extension and pick up a soil sample box. Collect soil samples from your landscape and have them sent to the lab. When you get your lab results you can amend your soil based on your needs. Wait till spring to fertilize.
⦁ Fertilize house plants as needed.
⦁ This is a good time to transplant trees, shrubs and plant spring bulbs like daffodils or tulips.
⦁ Make sure trees and shrubs get plenty of water if we have a dry winter.
⦁ Cut back and clean up frost-killed perennials. Leave up cone flowers longer for the birds to enjoy the seeds.
⦁ Remove undesirable trees from your landscape like Tree of Heaven. Keep leaves from collecting on your lawn and add leaves to your compost pile.
⦁ Make repairs to broken garden tools. Oil, sharpen and store in a dry area for winter.

Plant of the Month – Camellias
When winter comes and our gardens are not in bloom that is when the camellias come into beautiful bloom. Normal bloom time runs from October to April depending on the variety. Camellias are native to Japan, Korea and China. The two common types found in the nursery trade are C. japonica and C. sasanqua. They are evergreen shrubs with dark glossy leaves that can grow from 2 to 12 feet depending on the variety selected. Camellias prefer rich, moist soil in a part-shade location. When planting they should be planted away from other trees due to the fact they do not like to compete for water or nutrients. Add some well-rotted manure around your plant at ground level when planting. Fertilize with a potassium-rich fertilizer in July for flower development and slow-release nitrogen fertilizer in the spring for foliage. Keep watered during dry periods. They grow in zones 7 to 9.

What’s new on the bridge?
This fall the bridge volunteers planted 1,000 new daffodil bulbs for spring bloom. Some of the new varieties are miniatures like ‘Tete a Tete’, double blooms like ‘Replete’ and bunching daffodils like ‘Cheerfulness’. Large cupped ‘Sentinel’ to small cupped ‘Suave’ will provide lots of spring color to the bridge. Stop by the bridge this spring to enjoy all of the unusual colors and varieties.
We are in the process of developing a very special memorial wellness garden on the bridge. This garden is dedicated to man’s best friend. This garden will contain animal friendly plants, fountain, topiary, green roof dog house shelter and much more. Check it out as we develop this new garden over the winter.

Next spring the Lake Lure Flowering Bridge will be full of daffodil blooms. We are currently planting over 1,000 new bulbs in many different varieties.

This little dog is checking out the new green roof dog house shelter that was just delivered to the Lake Lure Flowering Bridge. The roof will be planted in mint.

Camellias are beautiful and provide blooms in the winter when our gardens are down. They come in many colors from white, pink, yellow, lavender, orange and mixed colors with flowers that are single or double.

Debbie Clark is a certified Master Gardener, LLFB board member and volunteer.
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