October 16, 2012
Bring along a shovel and \”edit\” your garden—this is an ideal time to remove plants that didn’t work out. Perhaps they took up too much space or didn’t perform well, or maybe you simply didn’t end up liking the way they look. Dig them up and give them away or toss their remains on the compost pile.
August 30, 2012
Visit a public garden, or go on a garden tour. Bring your camera and, just as important, a notebook. With or without the help of a guide, you will find plenty to learn and lots of inspiration. Be sure to write down the names of plants or plant combinations you admire (if there are no labels, ask someone).
August 15, 2012
Flowers such as vinca and dahlia can benefit from a mid-summer pruning to stimulate more flowers for fall. Cut back to a side branch, water well, and fertilize to help form new growth and blooms.
July 27, 2012
Frogs and toads eat garden insects. Invite them to your garden by placing inverted clay pots in shady spots with lots of foliage. Chip out a piece of the pot rim to give them an entrance to their home.
July 17, 2012
Deadhead spent daylily flowers by breaking them off. When all the flowers on a scape (stem) have faded, snip off the scape near the base to keep plants tidy and prevent them from going to seed.
July 12, 2012
Visit the shrubs, rosebushes, and trees that you planted this spring and give each one a tune-up. (You should already be supplying good soaking waterings.) Check for signs of disease and insect pests. Cut off all afflicted plant parts and get rid of them. (But save a small amount if you need a diagnosis and advice on treatment.)
July 3, 2012
After your rhododendron finish flowering, snip off the old blossoms and make corrective pruning cuts to remove diseased wood or an errant growing branch. Rhododendron can regrow from old wood, so cut them back severely if necessary.
June 26, 2012
Algae problem in your birdbath? Assuming you’ve cleaned it (a mixture of equal parts of vinegar and water works well and is nontoxic for the birds), there’s one other thing you can try. Pick about six stems off your lavender plant, wrap them with a rubber band, and float the bundle in the water.
June 5, 2012
Pull weeds out by the roots. They compete with your plants, especially the new and smaller ones, hogging valuable resources of soil nutrients, water, and sunlight. Often they harbor insects and plant diseases, too. Note that it is much easier to get out the entire weed when the ground is damp, after a rain or shortly after you’ve watered.
May 29, 2012
Enjoy your garden. In the midst of chores and to-do lists, you might overlook why it’s such a pleasure. Sit outside, read a book, take a stroll, snooze in a hammock, have a party- reap the rewards.
May 24, 2012
Help your lawn resist heat and drought
Cutting your lawn too short makes it difficult for the grass to stand up to heat and drought. The best height for a healthy lawn is 2-3 inches.
Watering lightly encourages shallow roots systems, so water less frequently but deeply for deep, sturdy roots that will have a better chance of withstanding dry periods.
May 17, 2012
Water your tomatoes regularly for large, attractive fruit. Underwatering can stress the plant, making it susceptible to insects and disease. It can also encourage dark-colored soft spots on the bottom of the fruit (blossom end rot.) Over watering can cause the fruit to crack.
May 9, 2012
Damp spring? This means mosquitoes will soon be out in force, making yard work miserable. Do what you can now to prevent a population explosion. Dump out or upend pots, tires, and other water holding areas. Toss soil or sand over puddles. Add guppies to a garden pool—the fish will dine on mosquito larvae before they can hatch.
May 1, 2012 – Happy May Day!
Tidy perennial beds. Once the mulch layer is off, go into the garden with a pair of clippers. Cut all remaining dead stalks from last fall down to the crown of the plant. As you work, tread carefully— if the ground is still semi-frozen or saturated with water, your footsteps can compact the soil.
April 24, 2012
Rose Care: Now that it has warmed up slightly, any mulch that was covering your roses can be removed and the canes can be pruned back to where they are alive or to the point where the stem is the diameter of a pencil. Pencil diameter canes have the strongest buds for your roses to start from in the spring.
April 18, 2012
Trim your evergreen hedge before it really starts growing for the year. Remove old stems at their bases. Shorten others that are too long. Shape so that the top of the plant-when viewed from the side-is narrower than the base. This not only looks better but is easier to maintain.
April 4, 2012
Always make pruning cuts on an angle. That way, water will be more likely to run off, rather than collecting on the cut area & causing rot or disease. A slanted cut also dries out faster after a rain. Last but not least, this leaves a smaller stub, which is better for a plant’s appearance.
March 28, 2012
As your spring bulb display commences, evaluate it. Did you plant enough? Do you wish you had more or different colors? Take notes now, while you’re thinking of it; then tuck those notes into your calendar or gardening journal in the late summer or early fall pages (whenever you are likely to buy bulbs).
March 20, 2012
HAPPY SPRING!! Check out the garden soil. It may still be too soon to plant much, but it doesn’t hurt to get acquainted. Scoop up a handful and squeeze. If the dirt oozes moisture, it’s too soon. If it forms a ball that breaks apart when poked by your finger, it’s okay to sow early and cold-tolerant crops (like peas and radishes).
March 13, 2012
Take a peek at your pots of overwintered tropical plants. Scoot back the straw or whatever mulch you have protecting them; then inspect the surface of the soil for signs of new life. If there are sprouts, you may remove the covering completely and water lightly. Provide light by placing them near a window or under fluorescent lights to encourage them.
Don’t Forget To Turn Back Your Clocks and Spring Ahead, Saturday, March 10
March 8, 2012
Clean If you have a cold frame, or have been thinking of making one, early spring is the perfect time to launch it. Little seedlings can be raised and acclimated in its shelter. Be sure to water seedlings in the morning so the foliage has a chance to dry before evening. Make sure it has ventilation on sunny days.
February 28, 2012
Clean dusty houseplant leaves. Not only is the coating unattractive, but it inhibits the exchange of air and moisture for the plant, which can be bad for its health. Wipe leaves with a soapy sponge, and then rinse with clear water. Dust and dirt can be brushed off textured or fuzzy leaves with a paintbrush or clean make-up brush.
February 23, 2012
Check on all your developing seedlings. Remember to water before feeding, or at the same time, so the roots can take up the nutrients. If the seedlings are leaning towards the light source, move the pots a quarter turn each day to encourage the stems to grow upright.
February 16, 2012
Sharpen your cutting tools. This means pruners, clippers, and loppers, of course, but also shovels and hoes. Use a file and restore the original bevel. There is no need for a razor-sharp edge, just smooth the nicks. If the tool is unwieldy, hold it in place with a vise grip while you work. When finished, store the tools in a cool, dry place.