Is winter taking its toll on you? Just imagine what it’s doing to the plantings you look forward to seeing each spring. In some cases, the weather may be adding much-needed moisture to the ground. In others, it could be damaging delicate roots. Either way, there are certain things you can do for your garden right now in the middle of winter that can help make spring a lot brighter when it finally comes. Here are 7 things your garden would like you to consider:
Have you had a very cold and snowy winter or a mild one? If it’s been cold, it’s a good idea to add an extra layer of mulch on top of your plantings to help protect them from the low temperatures and wind chill. If it’s been mild, then your plants are likely pretty happy, but their shape and location may need some attention.
In winter when plants are dormant, it’s easier to see what shape they’re really in. You may find that a few plants are too close together, or that a large one could be separated into two or three sections – which can ultimately increase your garden’s blooming ability. And, there’s always a chance that you’ve planted something in the wrong place. Perhaps the blooms on your azalea bush would be brighter and more plentiful if you shifted it out of the shade and into a predominantly sunnier location. Talk to the pros at your local garden center for details, but when you notice a plant isn’t as vibrant as you’d hoped, it may be because it’s not in the right place. Plan ahead now to move it when the ground is warm enough to let you.
Use this time to clean up and organize your plant beds. Be on the lookout for soil erosion and make plans now to improve the quality and quantity of dirt your plants need to grow to their fullest potential. If you can see roots or bulbs, you need to increase the depth of your planting area. This goes for trees, too. Large roots extending toward your home can damage its foundation, as well as walkways and water supply. If you see any potential signs of trouble, contact a professional to check it out and make amends.
If the snow and ice you get in your area leaves piles here and there, while other areas are melting and fading away, take note. Those little snow piles give you insight into which areas of your garden get the least amount of sun — depending on the time of day, at least. You will want to keep that in mind (or, better yet, take a few photos while you can!) so that when you purchase new annuals or perennials you can be sure to enhance the right areas and avoid the wrong ones.
If you’re looking forward to blooms in the next 4-6 weeks, it’s time to plant right now – indoors. Once they’ve established themselves and the ground has softened outdoors, you can put them in the ground. Consult a Garden Growth Zone map to ensure you’ve got the timing right. Once the hardier plants are in the ground, you can begin other plantings indoors and give them time to grow before moving them outside in warmer weather.
Once you’ve got your seeds started indoors and the garden cleaned out and rearranged, with a gardening plan in mind, be sure to review your garden tools. If you left them outside throughout the fall and winter seasons, they may not be in the best shape now. Be sure you have a rake, trowel and spade ready to go – meaning: no rust and nothing broken. This is also a good time to purchase a new set of garden gloves, knee pad and any other equipment you may be needing. (Look for sales, of course, to get the best deals.)
Do you have any fencing, trellises or other decorative objects in your garden? Check out their condition to ensure they’re in working order. You may have even changed your design aesthetic over the past season. Maybe it’s time to swap out your playful garden gnome for a beautiful stone fairy. Start thinking about what you didn’t like about your landscape last year and what you’d like it to look like this year. Draw out a plan if it helps you decide, scour the Internet for inspiration and start assembling all the pieces that will make your yard a showstopper.
Is your garden ready for spring? We’d like to know what your favorite blooming flowers are! Please share in the comments below or click on “Tell Your Story”.