Thursday, December 17, 2009


Here is a list of books any gardener would love to have. It is generated by NPR, and I'm sure it would be helpful if you're trying to find the perfect gift for a gardener!

Monday, December 14, 2009


The snow plows are out clearing the roads. Our driveway is still unplowed, but I imagine it won't be too long before that is accomplished as well. We got about 3-4 inches of new snow last evening and although it's pretty, and a good insulator for our plants, it can also break branches if it gets just a little windy.
Here is an article on how folks in Minnesota and Wisconsin deal with snow. Most of these things should have been done before the winter got into full swing, but it's good to learn about them when we are in the midst of dealing with the problem. As the saying goes, "Next year"!
But, you have the problem right now, so what should you do?
While the snow is still soft, go out and rescue your broad leaved evergreens (like rhododendrons, and similar shrubs that hang onto their leaves all winter.) Those leaves become overladen with snow and are vulnerable to breakage due to the heaviness of this burden.
Take the long handle of a rake, or shovel and insert the "handle end" of the tool into the shrub, being careful not to be rough since you don't want to damage the bark. Gently "bump" the branches until the snow falls off. As the snow cascades down, the branches will pop up while the additional snow falls to the ground, adding a bit more insulation to the roots.
It is important to do this before ice forms. If you should get rain, or an ice storm, leave those frozen branches alone. If you poke them while they are frozen, they may break right then and there. In the case of ice, just wait until a warm spell melts it off.
Be sure to get rid of this soft, heavy snow all winter long. When you go out to shovel, help the shrubs at the same time. You'll be happy in the spring when the shrubs are fully intact, and able to greet you with their glorious flowers !

Wednesday, December 09, 2009


I'm ready! Are you?
The big question is, are our gardens are ready? As the saying goes "ready or not, here it comes".
What goes on under all that snow and frost? Are all the little critters hunkering down for a long winters nap? Nope, they're planning how to get food to sustain them through the winter. They are eyeing your shrubs and tender, little trees. The bark is SOOOO inviting. Yum! If you haven't put some protection around the lower trunks, they will burrow right up to that yummy green bark and proceed to chew away!
Hopefully, you thought about that back in the fall. I'll have to check my "chores" list and add that if it's not there. It's important. You can lose a lot of good trees, vines, and shrubs that way.

Thursday, December 03, 2009



If you can, dig a hole to put your live holiday tree in. Store the soil you dig out in the garage, or other non-frozen place so you can just dump it into the hole after the tree is planted!

Have you made "tee-pee's" to cover your smaller shrubs, protecting them from snow loads? Be sure they are out in the garden, doing their job! You can also wrap the plants, or shrubs in burlap.

Plant your pre-cooled bulbs in pots for some wonderful indoor color. Put them first in a cool and dark spot to begin growing roots. Water them, so they don't dry out.

Remove decorative foil from gift plants. Set the plants into waterproof containers, after placing a layer of gravel in the bottom (of the outside pot) so the plant doesn't sit in water. Plants are far more harmed by too MUCH water, than too little!

Poinsettias should be in moist, NOT wet soil.

Fertilize houseplants.

If you haven't done it yet, put stakes around your gardens bordering driveways and roads where plowed snow might harm them. The stakes will guide the plow elsewhere!

Save hardwood ashes to amend the soil in the spring. If your compost pile is not covered, the ashes can go right in there.

Think about gardening tools, equipment and books as Christmas gifts.

Go to a gardening seminar.

Take a gardening break!