One new member, Jana Reed, joined nine members for the October meeting of Great Bend Garden Club. Newly appointed President, Nancy Williams, opened the meeting with the Gardener’s Creed.
Pam Sweeney introduced an interesting and helpful discussion among the members, asking them for their experiences in Fall flower garden cleanup and preparations of gardens for winter. Ideas included getting most perennials cut back during the month of September or early November. Examples mentioned include: peonies, cone flower, hollyhocks, vining clematis or other vining flowers, tansy iris, anything that you don’t want to go to seed and multiply, like the coneflowers or milkweed (which can be intentionally planted to attract the monarchs).
An interesting hint to prevent weeds and other volunteer perennials in iris beds is to sprinkle a little Preen around the corms after cutting back the foliage. Shrubbery or flowering bushes like Rose of Sharon can also be pruned to achieve a more formal look for next Spring. Not many annuals survive a Kansas winter, but there a few, if they are potted, that can be either cut back just above the soil or dug up and stored hanging in a basement or warm garage. Geraniums are an example of that. This probably depends on the variety of geranium, however. Also some flowers can be dug up for their bulbs like tulips and cannas and then be taken to a dry, cool space during the winter and replanted or transplanted in the spring. Some have had success by heavy mulching of the cannas instead.
Other gardeners are a good source of information about gardening questions, but someone can also contact the Sunflower County Extension Office. They have access to a free booklet published by the Kansas Extension Service called “Kansas Gardener’s Guide” or an agent could just give you answers in person for a specific question.
The next meeting of Great Bend Garden Club will be at 10 a.m. on Nov. 18 in the meeting room of the Great Bend Senior Center. Visitors are welcome.