Seasonal Care of the Garden - January
Protect broad-leaved evergreens with anti-desiccant spray such as Wilt-proof or Vaporguard.
Even if done in autumn, reapply in the January thaw as snow and rain reduces effectiveness.
Apply when air temperature will remain above freezing until spray has dried.
Mulch small, borderline hardy shrubs such as lavender, English boxwood, etc
with a light airy mulch of salt hay or evergreen boughs. Good use for discarded Christmas trees.
When snow comes, clear evergreens of heavy accumulations. Heavy wet snow that can freeze into ice is most harmful.
Reduce watering and stop feeding houseplants.
Read catalogs and books. Plan perennial borders. Order seeds - to be shipped promptly,
and plants - to be shipped at the correct time. Mail order is a way to obtain plants
unavailable locally. Try to stagger delivery times by a few days, lest everything
arrive at once and overload your ability to cope. Live plants won't wait for long
in a box before they begin to decline, maybe even rot. Advance planning helps -
if you're potting them up have pots, potting mix, and labels ready before they arrive.
Bring in potted bulbs for forcing. These crocus and hyacinths were simply planted
in an empty clementine orange box last fall. Takes just a few minutes, and how much
I enjoy their flowers when the days are short, often gray and dreary, with snow
blanketing the ground. Stored in a cold (but above freezing) garage for a dozen weeks,
they come indoors to bloom in just a couple more. What a welcome reminder that
Spring is indeed on its way, but only if the potting up was done last fall.
Check stored bulbs such as dahlia/gladiola/caladium/canna for shriveling or rot.
Straighten out tool shed. Clean and sharpen tools if not done in autumn.
Bring in soil/sand/peat moss for use in re-potting and seed sowing.
Discard old seed packets. My friend Carolyn, who gardens in Los Gatos, California,
surprised me with the unexpected gift of this darling ornamental bird house, made from
(you guessed it) old seed packets. In this case, the very attractive ones from
Renee's Garden, a terrific on-line source for flower, vegetable, and herb seeds.
You need 7 packets. One for the bottom, four sides, and two for the roof. Trace around a coin
and cut out the opening. Bend in two corners on that seed packet and a second one.
Tape the walls together, making sure to properly pair up the walls. Tape to "floor."
Use double-sided tape to join the roof pieces, then attach to walls and adjust for
a snug fit. Carolyn added a tiny twig beneath the opening for a little bird's perch,
added some Spanish moss and a few little flowers to complete the effect. She wrote
that "I make these for garden events with holiday trim for Christmas & Halloween.
Could easily be done for Easter, Valentine's Day, Fourth of July, whatever. Enjoy!
What a lift it gave my day when I opened the box and found her surprise.
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