Yes, I hear you! You are just like my nephew Cameron when he was young and would ride in the back seat of my car on the way to somewhere and all he wanted to know was, “Are we there yet?” So with that being said, stop asking me if it’s time to start your seeds! No, you cannot start your seeds yet and yes, you can spend hours in front of the fireplace with a glass of wine making lists from all those Pinterest pages of what plants you simply must have for 2020. Happy New Year!
Here’s my top priority in making my wish list for the new year: Take a mental walk through your 2019 garden, or review notes or photos. Start by listing anything you want to do more or less of. Keep that list in mind while you Pinterest your way through January. I myself am guilty of overplanning my garden during the dead of winter and then when I do I am much more prone to the temptation to bring one of everything home on the first nice spring day we have.
To be honest, my garden does often suffer from the polkadot effect—you know, lots of “onesies”. I lecture you all to plant in groups or drifts to create a punch of visual color but when left to my own devices, one of everything seems to fight over space in my small garden of benign neglect. The result, visual chaos! Eliminating this perpetual polkadot effect is a reaccuring New Years Resolution for me!
Beyond dreaming of gardening 2020, January does have a To Do List (come on, you knew one was coming and I wasn’t giving you the winter “off”!). Here’s my list of January chores for you and me.
You houseplants need some attention. Keep an eye out for spider mites, mealybugs and scale insects. If you can find them before they get out of hand, non-chemical methods are usually successful: a simple shower, insecticidal soap spray or horticultural oil (as directed on labels) can be very effective early on.
Don’t kill your plants with love. Your houseplants are likely to be the beneficiaries – or victims- of your extra gardening time now that you can’t be outdoors. Overwatering is the biggest risk to houseplants in winter, so go easy. I just started watering my String of Pearls again; I keep them dry and cool from Thanksgiving until the New Year and they have survived my neglect beautifully.
I generally don’t feed my houseplants in the low-light months, but by late February, as extra minute of daylight start adding up, I start by feeding them weekly. A balanced houseplant food like Jacks Classic is the perfect solution to multiple types of indoor plants because it’s got something for everyone.
But what about your trees and shrubs? If the perfect (and ever so elusive) combination of not-too-deep snow but still-frozen or at least not-muddy soil occurs on a sunny day, get out and prune. My fruit trees and maples all benefit from a late-winter cleanup. I usually wait a bit longer to cut back my red twig dogwoods and hydrangea paniculata because I’m still enjoying the show. I usually get to these in March, but sometimes April depending on the snow and cold.
While you are out there, be on the lookout for dead, damaged, or diseased wood in trees and shrubs and prune it out as you find it. This is especially important in winter with its harsh windy weather, where if left in place can invite tearing and unnecessary extra damage.
I know it’s hard to resist that one nice day or weekend in January, but don’t be in a rush! Keep your feet on mulch, stone or gravel paths and off the lawns and out of beds. Most January thaws prove warm enough to soften the ground. Mucking around in mud wrecks on your sois by compacting them.
Just not sure you can last until Spring? We totally understand! Alec and Angela just got back from a trade show in Baltimore, the Mid-Atlantic Nursery Trade Show. They spent an amazing three days meeting with our suppliers and getting a good look at all the new plants and products for 2020. Stay tuned on our Facebook page for some sneak peaks at all the cool stuff they found there!
We hope you are enjoying a very happy and healthy beginning of the New Year!
Michelle and Team Lakeview