Winter Gardening

 


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The fall clean-up is done, your bulbs are planted and your looking forward to the spring gardening season. You need not look so far ahead. Winter can be a busy time for gardeners. Planning, of course, is essential but there are a few other chores which can be done as well.

Here are a few gardening tips to help you get through winter.

Review last year's journal and start a new one for this year by recording your seed/plant orders Browse through catalogs or spend a little time online searching for the plants you’ll be using during the upcoming season. First, however, plan your new garden or update your existing one.

Rework your garden design, think about what was missing in the garden during the previous season. Also, look around, what could make the landscape more interesting during the winter months. Often, a large evergreen serving as an anchor or specimen shrub can improve a winter landscape. Look for shrubs with winter berries, trees which begin budding in late winter or tress and shrubs with interesting form or colorful bark.

Forethought is essential when planning successful garden. After you’ve decided what you’d like your new garden to offer begin a site analysis. Having a clear understanding of your site’s conditions is important it will enable you to make informed decisions regarding design and plant selection. Determine the following factors; climate & micro-climate, sun & shade conditions, wind exposure, soil composition and existing vegetation.

Plant hardiness zone maps divide the country into zones based on the lowest average winter temperature. A plant that is adapted to your hardiness zone is one that can tolerate the lowest winter temperature your zone typically experiences. Find out the zone in which you live and use it as guide during your plant selection process.

Along with the overall climate conditions of your area, micro-climates within your specific site also determine what is appropriate for your garden. A sunny spot against a brick wall with a southern exposure, for example, will be warmer than its surrounding environment, even during the coldest winter days. In a space such as this, plants which are borderline hardy have a better chance at survival than if planted elsewhere in the garden.

Being aware of the sun and shade conditions in your garden is essential garden design and to the long term success of your new plantings. Improperly placed plants are a main reason for unnecessary transplants. Most plants prefer at least some shade during the day.

Getting to know the conditions of your site before you begin planning and planting can be the difference between success and disappointment. Properly planned gardens ensure the time you invest in you garden is worth it, as each properly placed plant thrives.

Aside from reworking your garden design, there are some tasks which will need to be done in the garden during the winter. For instance, Prune your deciduous trees and shrubs in the winter while they are dormant.

Check on your stored bulbs. Check your perennial gardens for heaving, especially in areas prone to repeated freezing and thawing. Recycle your Christmas tree as garden mulch or a bird feeder. Feed the birds and provide them with some unfrozen water. Shake the snow off of your evergreen shrubs after snow storms. Also, sharpen your tools so you’ll be ready to get to work when the ground thaws. Though the plants are dormant and snow is on the ground, winter is the ideal time to prepare for a busy gardening season.

R Birch is the publisher of http://www.gardenlistings.com For information on all kinds of garden projects visit http://www.gardenlistings.com/Resources.htm

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