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Garden Ramblings, Issue #026
October 15, 2006
October 2006

Monthly Musings on the Garden Scene

If you prefer, you can view this month's issue online where you can also subscribe if this copy has been forwarded to you by a friend. ***********************************************************

In this issue:

- Letter from the Editor
- Flower of the Month
- October Cleanup
- Winterizing Your Pond
- Special Offers
- Useful Resources



Welcome to the October issue of Garden Ramblings your monthly window on what's going on in the world of gardening.

Last month I said that I thought it was time for a change in the format of this newsletter and included some videos. Since these provoked no response I am not going to pursue this approach unless I find something of particular interest.

The main change this month is the Plant of the Month spot. I have felt for some time that this was past its sell-by date, and so will be dropped. As a transition I am borrowing from Breck's Bulbs and adopting their Flower of the Month.

October Cleanup is a look at the tasks to be completed at this time of year with a review of some of the equipment that is available too help make life easier.

Brett Fogle is our guest author this month with his advice on Winterizing Your Pond

If you want to keep up with all the news in the gardening world, you can read my blog Garden Supplies News.

Enjoy the issue.



Flower of the Month

As mentioned above I have decided to drop the Plant of the Month from future issues, but as a transition I am borrowing from Breck's Bulbs. Their Flower of the Month is the Butterfly Amaryllis (Hippeastrum 'papilio'). "In the middle of winter, easy-to-grow Amaryllis is a real treat - bringing warm, vibrant colour to any room of your home. Like the wings of a butterfly, the delicate petals of this amaryllis seem to float atop a sturdy 18" stalk. Petals of white are tinged green with contrasting maroon-red striped markings. Perfect for forcing indoors and container planting, this variety can also be planted outside when there is no chance of frost. Top-quality bulbs are guaranteed to grow and bloom wherever you plant them. Lift in fall when planted outside". Here's the link to a picture of this beauty.



October Cleanup

For some October means trick and treat and Halloween parties, but for gardeners it is yard cleanup time. A time of falling leaves and disheveled plants that are ready for cutting back to tidy your flowerbeds in readiness for winter.

Depending on the size of your garden clearing the fallen leaves can be quite a task. If you only have a small backyard with few trees, a leaf rake may be all you need. For larger areas there are a number of tools available to make the job easier.

Leaf blowers remove the hard work associated with raking, and allow you to blow the leaves into convenient piles with minimum effort. Other models operate like a vacuum cleaner sucking up the leaves into a bag. Gardener's Supply Company sell a combination tool which blows, vacuums and shreds your leaves. It's called Leafmaster 3-in-1 icon which is a powerful electric device that vacuums up leaves, shreds them into mulch, and collects them for composting or disposal.

If you have a large area of grass a rolling leaf sweeper icon will help to lighten the task. Looking rather like a mower, but with brushes instead of blades, you push this over the grass to collect the leaves ten times faster than with a rake.

Leaves that have been collected form a valuable resource for the garden either as leaf mold or added to the compost heap. For best results the leaves need to be shredded. While you can accomplish this using your mower, a purpose-built leaf shredder icon makes the task easier.

Apart from the leaves the October yard cleanup will produce a large amount of vegetation that will make ideal compost material. There are probably as many types of compost bins and enclosures as there are methods of compost making. The batch method, which produces compost in the shortest time, involves placing all the material into the container in one go. Drum-shaped containers icon designed so that they can be rotated are the most suitable for this method.

The continuous method of compost making is one where material is added to the container as and when it is available rather than all at once. This method takes longer for the contents to turn into compost, but is often easier to manage. Gardener's Supply Company have a number of containers ranging from a basic wire frame icon to box-shaped structures made from wood icon or heavy duty plastic icon. Currently the company is offering a 10% discount on all orders of $50 or more.

Gardener's Supply Company

Winterizing Your Pond
By Brett Fogle

For many parts of the country, it's getting to be that time of year again. Time to start thinking about getting your fish and plants ready for old man winter...

Every year, as the weather gets colder and we start heading into winter, many of our customers ask us how to prepare their ponds for winter. Pond owners should be aware of several simple things to do in preparing their ponds for colder months.

Fish and plants need very different things in the winter, but can be kept in top condition for the following season if the appropriate steps are taken (see related articles).

Fish should be fed less, floating annuals should be thrown out, potted hardy plants should be cut down and moved to the bottom of the pond, filters should be cleaned & drained, and pumps shut off.

Another good practice that we recommend is to do a partial pond cleaning and water change. It's not necessary to drain the pond completely, but we recommend draining 25% - 50% of the water and net out or remove as much organic debris as possible (IE: leaves, plants, etc.)

The reason for this is because rotting leaves, dead plant material, and other organic wastes will give off toxic gasses as they decay during the winter. This can be especially dangerous if the pond is allowed to freeze over.

A thick layer of ice can easily form over the pond in sub-freezing temperatures, which can prevent these gasses from escaping from the pond. If allowed to build up, your fish will suffer. The most likely result will be a weakened immune system, and a more vulnerable fish you will have come spring time.

Anything you can do to reduce stress on your fish prior to and during winter, will pay off handsomely in the Spring. Your fish will be much more vibrant and healthy.

Another important reason not to let your pond ice-over is because the oxygen levels in the pond water can drop to dangerous levels. By keeping the pond surface from freezing over, or by at least keeping a 2' - 3' hole in the ice, you can eliminate or greatly reduce these dangers.

Oxygen levels should be maintained during winter if at all possible. If you have a standard aquarium air pump - plug it in outside and let it run all winter.

We also recommend maintaining your salt levels during winter. This keeps your fish's slime coat strong, and immune systems strong all winter long!

About The Author

Brett Fogle is the owner of MacArthur Water Gardens and several pond-related websites including and He also publishes a free monthly newsletter called PondStuff! with a reader circulation of over 9,000 pond owners. To sign up for the free newsletter and receive a complimentary 'New Pond Owners Guide' for joining, just visit MacArthur Water Gardens at our website.

Article Source:

Special Offers




Last month Brecks Bulbs were promoting their "Not Every Day" Lilies but this time it really is a Day Lily offer. This collection features nine exceptionally beautiful prize daylily varieties. And as a special gift to thank you for placing your reservation promptly, the’ll include a very special daylily – the Daring Deception Daylily, absolutely FREE. All for just $19.95 which is 68% off the regular price of $63.91.


THis time Gurneys have gone for the Buy One Get One Free approach. Take a look at the offers on Spring-flowering Bulbs, Strawberries and Sweet Peas, among others.

Gardener's Supply Company still have some items in their End-of-Summer-Sale and by using this link you get an extra 10% reduction when you spend $50 or more.


Dutch Gardensicon have come up with the supreme labor saving idea with their Bulb Bed Planting Tray Collection. No need to plant the bulbs one by one. Just dig a hole, place the tray and cover with soil. Ever so easy and all your bulbs are in perfect position.

Useful Resources

Not so much useful as just something to continue the video theme. Here are two ladies giving a tour of their gardens. The quality is not great, but they are quite amusing all the same.

My Garden July 2006



Please feel free to pass on this newsletter to your gardening friends. Do let me have your feedback and suggestions to: [email protected]

That's all until next month but in the meantime you can always look at my Blog Garden Supplies News

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