The calendar says it is winter and we experienced a taste of
it on New Year's Eve with some isolated rain/snow showers. Today
is a different story.
Sam Parker, the family dog and I just
returned from our afternoon walk and it is actually quite nice
outside. I believe the temperature is in the 50's. There is a
breeze making it seem a bit cooler but what a wonderful day. I
am headed back out in a few minutes to
rake up some leaves. A
full time job which I never seem to tire of. As long as it is
January and I can be outside doing something then I am just fine
with raking leaves.
temperatures seem to be higher than
normal (whatever that means) don't forget to water.
Haven't heard that from me before? I will continue to remind you
throughout winter, spring, summer and fall how important
watering is. Especially if we are not getting adequate rainfall
or snowfall. It looks as if the temperatures are going to remain
steady for the next week or so and we might even see the low
60's early next week. Oh, how that makes me smile!
It is not
too early to plan for those new gardens you are going to create
this spring. I suggest jotting some ideas down on paper. Making
notes about moving plants, where you want to plant new ones etc...
Once you have a plan in place planting becomes the easy part. So,
let your creative side take control and jot down 1, 2 or
maybe 3 new ideas of something you would like to do different
with your gardens. This is the time to let your imagination run
wild. Go with it!
This month is a good time to remember your houseplants. If
any of them are getting too big for their pots simply divide them
and re-pot. While you are at it give them some TLC by doing the
judiciously. A light trim is usually sufficient.
- Check for bugs.
Aphids and other critters can usually be eradicated with some
- Make sure the low
winter sun isn't hurting your plants placed near windows. You
can relocate them or simply rotate them periodically if
- A different
window related problem may be the cold. Leaves don't like
touching cold glass.
- If your house is
really dry (like mine) make sure you mist your plants
Boughs For Beds...
Many of our readers are disposing
of a Christmas tree in the very near future. Why not put that
tree to some beneficial use?
- Evergreen boughs
are great insulators and can be effectively used as a mulching
material on flower beds.
The whole tree itself makes a nice temporary
protective habitat for birds. Place it in the garden near your
Belated Bulb Burial...
If you're like me you were counting on warmer weather in
December to finish your bulb planting.
Between unpredictable weather and the crush of the holidays it
just didn't get done. Here's a
trick I've gotten used to using each year:
Plant your bulbs
now in individual peat pots
and place the pots in flats. Set them outside where it is cold
and bury the bulbs under a thick blanket of leaves.
With luck the ground will thaw again this winter and we can use the
opportunity to transplant them into the garden.
These recent days of mild weather have us dreaming about
spring! It seems like a long way off on the calendar but guess what? There are several flowers whose seeds can be started
month! They include Begonia, Browallia, Geranium, Larkspur,
Pansy and Vinca. Check out
When to Start Seeds Indoors for more details.
Savvygardeners, Sappy Trees...
If you have ever pruned trees in late winter to early spring,
you may have noticed that some weep sap from fresh pruning
wounds. Different species of trees vary in how easily and how
much they "bleed." Those that are most susceptible to bleeding
include maples (silver, sugar, amur, Norway and hedge), black
walnut, pecan, birch, mulberry, Osage orange (hedge tree) and
grape. Though bleeding may look as if it would cause
considerable damage to the tree, that's not the case. Even if
large amounts of sap are lost, there is no apparent long-term
damage. However, many people find the appearance of this
bleeding objectionable. Pruning during the winter when
temperatures remain below freezing will help minimize sap flow.
So if you have any of the "bleeders" that need pruned, you might
want to do it while the weather is really cold.
A common question this time of year concerns the spreading of
wood ashes from the fireplace into the garden. Many gardeners
have heard that wood ashes increase soil pH. While this is
technically true it would take very considerable quantities
to have any significant effect on pH. Just spread them as evenly
as possible and try not to overdo it.
Keep Off The Grass...
When temperatures plummet your
grass will respond by moving water to areas outside the cells.
Ice accumulates in spaces between the cells and individual grass
blades become brittle. Walking on frozen turf will force the ice
and cells together and can cause permanent damage to your lawn.
Do your best to avoid it.
"Green is the fresh
emblem of well- founded hopes. In blue the spirit can wander,
but in green it can rest."