Come out and Visit
If your like me, your garden is more than just a place where you grow some flowers and food, its more like a good friend. A good friend that I tend to neglect when the weather gets cold. I can see it from some of the windows in our house, but there’s nothing like taking a walk through and really looking at it. Everyday I walk a path right through part of our yard, but it’s with the intent of getting somewhere else on our property, not hanging out to really see it. Yesterday, I bundled up made a nice cup of tea and headed out for a visit. It helped me get a focus on what I NEED to get done this year and think about what, if time allows, new projects I’d like to tackle.
Make a Plan
Planning doesn’t come naturally for me. I prefer to fly by the seat of my pants and ‘wing’ most things, but my lack of planning has also bit me in the backside. I make all kinds of mental notes about things to move, prune etc., but I know that as soon as I go back into the house I’ll forget at least some of them so I resolved to make a simple list this year. Mostly it consists of perennials that really need divided. Honestly looking at the list I’ll probably only get to half of them, but hey, half is better than none right? One thing about perennials is their patience. Dividing them will give you more blooms and usually a more robust plant, but if they’re not too overgrown they can wait.
Here’s a clump of daylilies that really need to be divided, and yes I still haven’t picked up the fall leaves in that bed. I thought about tidying it up before I snapped the picture but that wouldn’t be real life, it would be staging. One of my pet peeves is reading a gardening blog/article and every picture looks like it’s out of a magazine and the writer acts like it just happened that way with very little effort. Reality is that life happens and gardens get messy. I don’t know anything about ‘the road to hell being paved with good intentions’, but our garden path sure is!
Winter is the best time to prune deciduous trees and shrubs. I think most gardeners are somewhat afraid to prune things back for fear of making some giant pruning mistake. Heaven knows there are scads of books and articles written on the subject and while they can be helpful, there’s no substitute for hands on learning as you go. Most flowering shrubs will be pretty forgiving and trust me, it will get easier the more you do it. Fruit trees are the one thing that I would definitely suggest not using my ‘wing it’ approach to. They are not difficult, but do require some knowledge so that you don’t sacrifice all your fruit to a bad pruning job.
Here’s another not so great picture (see rant above). This is a spirea that I did prune back but it is actually on my list to be moved. The Redwood tree in the background is starting to get really big and block some of the sun, so I’ll have to find it a better spot.
We mulch our beds in late summer to prepare for cold weather and then again in January or February depending on the weather. It helps us get a head start on spring and weed control. Spring is the busiest season around here and most times goes by in a blur so we try to do as much ahead as we possibly can. You can use whatever type of mulch you prefer, either bagged or your own compost. We like to use a combo of both.
Our mailbox is flooded this time of year with a ridiculous amount of gardening catalogs and for some crazy reason I’m compelled to look at most of them and dream. If you think about it a garden is really just a dream put into action. We look at all those gorgeous photos and gather ideas and plans, then we dig and plant and turn that dream into a beautiful reality. So keep dreaming, spring is just around the corner!