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Don Kinzler, Published December 13 2013

Fielding questions

Q: I’m interested in purchasing Dorothy Collins’ book “Flowers Between the Frosts.” Where is it available? – Wayne Beyer, Wahpeton, N.D.

A: I’m glad you asked because this book would make a great Christmas gift.

Dorothy Collins wrote weekly gardening columns for The Forum from 1956 until 2008. “Flowers Between the Frosts, How to Grow Great Gardens in Short Seasons” contains 93 of her articles.

As a small-town boy, I always looked forward to her weekly column in the Sunday Forum. Her information was among the only regional horticultural information available to a young lad interested in gardening until I left home for college.

I double-checked the availability from three sources. Barnes & Noble carries it. Zandbroz Variety on Fargo’s Broadway stocks it. North Dakota State University Institute for Regional Studies is the publisher and has copies available at their campus location or online at www.ndsu.edu/ahss/publications, or give them a call at (701) 231-8338. List price is $14.95. This is great reading and one of the few gardening books published in North Dakota.

Q: Did you advise readers to cut back potted geraniums to 3- to 4-inch stems when growing during winter in south windows? It killed me to do so the first time, but I’m surprised how nicely the new branches are growing. – Sherry Zueger, Moorhead

A: Thanks for the testimonial. Once you overcome the initial personal trauma, it does work great.

When growing geraniums indoors during winter, there are two times they should be cut back heavily.

The first time is in fall, if you are bringing a larger geranium indoors for the winter. They should be cut back as you mention to 3 or 4 inches above soil level. Even if only leafless stems remain, they will soon re-sprout nicely.

The second time for cutback is in early spring, when you are preparing geraniums for outdoors. In late March or early April, prune back again, which will remove much of the winter’s growth and begin fresh new sprouts that will perform well outdoors.

For those trying this for the first time, grit your teeth and prune. Avoid the temptation to go only halfway. The results will make you a believer.

If you have a gardening or lawn care question, email Don Kinzler at ForumGrowingTogether@hotmail.com. Questions with broad appeal may be published, so please include your name, city, and state for appropriate advice.