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Gardener’s almanac (Nov. 15)

Goodbye fall, and hello winter. It’s been a weird week.
Goodbye fall, and hello winter. It’s been a weird week. Tribune

Goodbye summer/fall — I decided to start this Gardener’s Almanac on Monday, writing a little note while it was 77 and I was still wearing linen and no socks. It feels great! The sun is shining, and I’m watering during my lunch hour, and I have no coat on! To be resumed below Tuesday…

And helloooooo winter — Emphasis on the first syllable of “hello.” Frightful frigid north gales have knocked pots and plant supports over in my yard, but I’m not picking them up yet.

As the week goes on, it only gets weirder. The arrival of winter – is it snowing today? – and an earthquake. The annuals of the garden need to be removed, but I’m waiting for some warmer weather. Right now everything is stuck in a freeze frame. It can stay there until it thaws.

One thing is hot: horseradish — The only garden chore that sounds remotely appropriate right now is digging horseradish. “Horseradish is ready to dig after a hard freeze kills the foliage,” Ward Upham wrote this week in K-State’s Horticulture 2014 newsletter. That’s usually November or December, he said. Looks like November this year. “The large roots can be harvested, while smaller, pencil-sized roots can be cut in 6- to 8-inch-long sections as ‘seed’ or ‘sets’ for next year’s crop which are then immediately re-planted,” Upham writes. “Another option is to leave the horseradish in the ground and dig as needed. If you choose the latter option, be sure to heavily mulch the area so that the ground doesn’t freeze.” Do we still have time – or clear ground? – for that?

Rabbit protection — To keep rabbits from nibbling on recently planted trees and shrubs now through this winter, use at least 2-foot-tall cylinders of 1-inch-mesh chicken wire or a similar barrier around the trunk, Upham says. Other options include plastic tree wrap and liquid rabbit repellents sprayed on the plants, he says.

Garden events

Birding at Botanica — The monthly bird walk through Botanica will set out at 9 a.m. Tuesday. It’s included in Botanica admission.

Natural-arrangements demo — Botanica’s last lunchtime lecture of the year will be Wednesday, when volunteers will show how they put together holiday arrangements made up of trimmings from the gardens. The arrangements are sold during Botanica’s Illuminations holiday event. The lunchtime lecture will be at 12:15 p.m. Wednesday and is included in Botanica admission.

African violet meeting — The Wichita African Violet Society will meet at 1 p.m. Friday at Botanica. The group will discuss the previously started leaf-ordering project. The meeting is free and open to the public.

Project Beauty luncheon — Project Beauty will have its final luncheon of the year on Nov. 20 at Hereford House, 1400 Terradyne Drive. Jae Pierce-Baba, nationally known humorologist, will be the speaker. The cost is $17. To make a reservation, send a check to Jean Wellshear, 6411 Marjorie, Wichita, KS 67206, by Monday.

SHEL at Dyck Arboretum — The pop-folk sister group SHEL from Fort Collins, Colo., will perform at 4 p.m. Sunday at Dyck Arboretum of the Plains in Hesston. Tickets are $20 for adults, $10 for children, plus tax. For tickets call Dyck Arboretum at 620-327-8127. For more information on this and subsequent concerts, visit our website.

Annie Calovich

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