Plant Preview

Welcome to Plant Preview, a blog dedicated to helping gardeners learn about gardening techniques and preview new plant cultivars. Read about new plants here first and hear how your "comrades in compost" are making use of new plant introductions in their gardens and landscapes. Blog author Geri Laufer is a life-long dirt gardener, degreed horticulturist, author and former County Extension Agent. Plant Preview is copyrighted by Geri Laufer.

Monday, December 6, 2010

10 Garden Chores to Accomplish Before Winter is Really Here

As the cold temperatures of winter approach and the pressures of the holiday season mount up, it's tempting to overlook garden clean-up, but a little effort now can really pay off next spring. Grab those gardening gloves. 

● Remove dead annuals and annual vegetables and herbs

● Rake up debris and put them in the trash, keeping diseased leaves and insect eggs out of the compost.

● Shred leaves and use them to mulch woody ornamentals in the landscape (oak and beech are slow to break down), waiting until hard frost and taking care not to smother perennial crowns.  

● Mow one last time and add fallen leaves to the compost pile (maple and tulip poplars biodegrade quickly) along with the last grass clippings. 

● Use floating row covers to protect herbs or cold weather crops planted in October and prolong the harvest.

● Prune some perennials to the ground in fall, such as peony, clematis, daylily, crocosmia and blackberry lily. 

● Other perennials should be left to contribute winter interest to the landscape. Ornamental grasses and seed heads of Black-Eyed Susans, Purple Coneflowers and Tickseed are appreciated by seed-eaters and look appealing throughout the cold months, before they drop seeds in late winter. Sedum, yarrow, dianthus, artemesia, lamb’s ears and butterfly weed are fine until spring. 

● Refer to your garden journal and determine what new plants to add in early spring.  

● Evaluate deciduous ornamentals and eliminate crossing branches once the leaves have dropped to reveal the branching patterns with sharp bypass pruners

● Buy and plant remaindered spring bulbs at 75% off if the ground isn’t frozen, and plant them the same day to enjoy next spring.

And number 11
● Harvest Nandina and Holly berries to add color to Christmas Wreaths, for example, this Christmas Jewel(R) Holly by Garden Debut(R).  

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