Winter is a perfect time to prepare for spring. Whether you are a beginner or a gardening aficionado, there are some basic guidelines to get you off to a great start and to keep you from getting overwhelmed.
First, take inventory of your tools and keep a list of garden supplies you may need. The good news is many of these things may be on sale during the ‘off season.’
Next, make diagrams of your yard. They don’t have to be drawn to scale, just get the lay-of-the-land and list the main plants in each garden bed or area. Is there anything you’ve wanted to add? Is there an area that underperformed last season? Which areas get sun and which are in the shade?
Then do some research and make a ‘wish list’ of plants you would like to add and divide your list into sun, part sun or shade plants. From there, divide them into blooming times or foliage color. Then ‘plug’ these into the appropriate areas on your diagram. Make sure each bed or area has sufficient beauty and interest. Remember, this is a ‘wish list’ and is meant to inspire and keep you organized. Don’t get discouraged if you can’t have everything you want all at once.
Finally, make a general “To Do List.” An easy to follow list that could be used in most climates is as follows…
Late Winter/Early Spring: If needed, prune back deciduous shrubs (not spring blooming ones!), broadleaved evergreens and cut back ornamental grasses. Clean out pots and containers for decks and patios.
Early Spring: Mulch bed areas with an organic material. If frost is gone, plant your new plants and summer or fall blooming bulbs.
Summer: Keep up with watering, deadheading, mulching, disease control, and prune needle-leaved evergreens if needed.
Early to mid-Fall: Divide overgrown perennials and plant spring bulbs if desired. There are many perennial and shrub species that do well with fall plantings. Get ready for winter preparation!
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