(But Not Necessarily) in the Garden

Christmas Trees

December (Weather Permitting) Procrastinators can skip this part. 

  • PREPARE TREE SITE If planning to buy a balled and burlapped Christmas tree, prepare the site before the ground freezes. Dig the hole now and place the soil in a bucket and place it in the garage to keep from freezing. Place a board over the site and mark to locate later should the snow fly.
  • TOOL PREP Clean, sharpen, oil, and organize garden tools. Get mechanical tools such as mowers and chainsaws serviced now so you’re not waiting in line during the spring rush.
  • STORAGE Turn carts, wheelbarrows, and containers upside down so they don’t collect water, freeze, and break. Remove tops of birdbaths and place on their sides. Cover garden  statuary and furniture. Don’t forget to disconnect hoses.
  • FINAL MULCH AND WRAP Use those late fall leaf clipping to place around fall plantings to help prevent heaving. Protect and wrap tender shrubs and plants against deer and winter  burn.

January and February

  • INDOOR PLANT CHECK Frequently check plants brought indoors for pests such as spider mites and mealy bugs.
  • SNOW DAMAGE ALERT Prevent damage to trees and shrubs by knocking off heavy snow that can break and split branches. Use a broom to reach high areas. Beautiful hellebores can be seen blooming in late winterRemember snow on  the ground is a good insulator.
  • WINTER DREAMING Now is the time to grab your favorite beverage and sit by the fire and go through all those catalogues and flower magazines you didn’t have time to read before. Start planning what plants you’ll get and what landscaping projects you’ll start or finish.
  • KEEP IN SHAPE Not being active with gardening chores causes us to get sluggish and out of shape. However, stretching, bending, and regular exercise are ways to stay active, including long walks in the garden. Stay in shape now so you’re ready for spring. Look for Erin O’Neill’s article, “Work Smarter, Not Harder” in next spring’s newsletter for timely back saving suggestions.
  • ENJOY Remember all those plants you bought for “winter interest”? Well, bundle up and get out there and enjoy them along with all the beautiful shapes, colors, and designs in nature’s winter wonderland. Grab a friend and your camera to capture the beauty of the season!

--Sue Cook, Secrest Master Gardener Volunteer