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Prepare plants for winter following these tips

Cultura Garden Club is not just about fundraising, working in the community and making downtown beautiful for the seasons and holidays. It’s also about having fun and learning how to care for our plants and gardens.

The October meeting gave us this opportunity. The program was “How to Prepare your Plants and Garden for Winter.” Terry Hall, retired RHS agricultural instructor, gave an informative and entertaining program.

Terry covered several topics and stressed how fall is a critical time of year to mulch and protect the roots of our plants. Mulch helps keep the soil moist and warm, which helps them to continue growing strong.  He displayed large barrels for compost and discussed how to make mulch.

When planting spring bulbs before winter, he stressed taking precautions against squirrels, chipmunks and voles by spraying the bulbs with liquid animal repellent.

When plants are outdoors, they are exposed to a wide range of insects and other pests. Before bringing them indoors for the winter, be sure to check through all the leaves and blossoms for any insects. Terry recommended using an insecticide safe for plants to prevent the spread of insects and diseases to your indoor plants.

He further explained how plants undergo dormancy in the winter; they are still alive but suspend the growing processes. Eventually, once temperatures rise again, plants will know to end their dormancy. This is largely because of plants’ “temperature memories,” which enable them to keep track of interactions between proteins and measure time and temperature to deduce when spring has arrived.

Other suggestions for indoor plants were: make sure leaves are not touching windows; do not fertilize during winter; do not repot; huddle plants together for warmth; water plants less in winter; do not use milk, mineral oil, or commercial foliage shiners to polish the leaves because it will clog plant pores and attract dirt; and best way to clean plants is to treat them to a warm shower once a month.

Terry also gave several doors prizes, such as mums, pansies, pruning scissors, watering containers and more, to our members.

The setting for this meeting was the beautiful home of Dr. Mickey and Debra Spillers. Club members enjoyed the outdoors and the many fall plants and decorations.

Martha Sibley served as co-hostess.

Delicious refreshments were served, and each member was given a pot holder with fall leaves print.

Plans were discussed for the annual Every Light a Prayer for Peace. The Cultura Garden Club has sponsored the Russellville Every Light a Prayer for Peace for more than 30 years. This event will be held on Dec. 2 at the Franklin County Courthouse prior to the Russellville Christmas Parade.

The annual Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony will be held in conjunction with Every Light a Prayer for Peace. Last year Cultura Garden Club won third place for the Garden Club of Alabama Christmas Lights State Awards.

The public is invited to attend this special event. Recognition will be given to veterans, active military, frontline workers, first responders and EMA honorees for their dedicated service. In addition, this event will feature entertainment, prayers for peace, patriotic salutes and the official beginning of the holidays with the Christmas Tree Lighting, followed by the parade.

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