Kimberley Garden Club news

Now that the first frost has come and gone, there are fall chores in the garden

Submitted by:  Marilee Quist

It seems to me the weather this year has been quite different than in previous years.  I remember last year waiting impatiently for a hard, killing frost so I could clean up my gardens.  This year, we unexpectedly had frost (and in some areas snow) overnight on September 10 and 11.  I heed the weather forecasts, particularly in the fall and spring, and picked any tomatoes that had colour on the 10th, and picked the green ones the next afternoon off frost-wilted plants.  My more tender perennials and annuals have now, as the saying goes, “bit the biscuit”, and I will be doing early fall garden clean-up this week.  It looks like my fall-blooming sedums and asters are okay at least so far, and I am very surprised at the durability of snapdragons.  I am pleased to see the cheerful pink fall-blooming Colchicums, and also the fall-blooming crocus starting to bloom; they will continue to do so until it gets really cold, providing a bright spot of colour in one of my front beds.

We had the last of our member garden tours on September 10; it was cold and damp, and we were grateful to go inside at the second garden and warm up with hot coffee and tea and sample wonderful cranberry bars — sort of like date bars only with cranberries — too yummy and I ate too many!  The owners of the second garden have an impressive display of prickly pear cactus and yucca.  After attending  the Cranbrook Garden Club’s Open Garden Day, I am willing to give the cactus one more try — at least the deer won’t be interested in it!  Many thanks to the gardeners who opened their gardens to us this month, and to all those who have shared their gardens since June.

Now is the time to plant hardy spring blooming bulbs.  Perennials, trees and shrubs can also be planted, but be sure to keep them well watered until freeze up.  Soon, treated spring blooming bulbs will be available for forcing indoors for blooms in January or February.  These can be potted up, watered, and kept in a cold (but not freezing) dark place until about six week before you want them to bloom.

Once the frost has killed the foliage on tender summer blooming bulbs such as dahlias, gladiolas, Canna and Calla lilies and tuberous begonias, dig the bulbs up, carefully clean the soil off, and put them in a dry place for several days. Cut back the stalks, and store the bulbs in peat moss or a mixture of peat moss and Perlite in boxes or bags in a cool, dry place until spring.

If you experienced leaf hoppers (tiny white flying insects that sucked the life out of the leaves) on your Virginia Creeper this year, carefully clean up all the diseased leaves and dispose of them — do not compost them in case they laid eggs on the leaves.  A good preventive measure next year is to use a hose and nozzle every other day on the leaves and stems to discourage the leaf hoppers.  You can also spray the leaves with something like Safer’s insecticidal soap or Malathion.

The Garden Club meets the second Wednesday of the month.  From October through May, we hold our meetings at Selkirk High School, starting at 7 pm in the Library.  Our planned fall programs are:  Planting Spring-Blooming Bulbs in layers for chilling and forcing into early blooms indoors, a demonstration of wreath-making and our annual Christmas finger food pot luck appetizer and dessert get-together in a member’s home. We welcome anyone who would like to learn more about gardening in Kimberley, whether you are new to gardening or new to the Kimberley area.  For more information on our meetings, call Nola at 250-427-1948.  The Garden Club has web space at  There are several pages in the Kimberley Garden Club section listing deer-resistant plants.  In addition to hosting pages for the Cranbrook,  Kimberley and Trail Garden Clubs, this website is incredibly informative with a wealth of gardening information and techniques.

Happy Gardening.