Here’s a ray of sunshine to warm up a winter day…
It’s hard to think about a garden when the ground is frozen solid. But for gardeners, January is not a total loss. I looked around the world of garden calendars to find to-do lists to back up that claim, and came across these nice little bits from The Garden Girls — Dr. Sue Hamilton and Beth Babbitt – at the University of Tennessee Plant Sciences Department. Here’s some of what they suggest for January, when it’s too cold to get out and dig:
- Use the time to design and plan. Now that the garden in bare, take a look at the “bones” and determine where you may need to move plants, add new plants, add hardscape, or make new beds. If it looks a little dull out there right now, consider adding plants that can provide winter color and interest. Take notes so you can remember these ideas when the time comes for action.
- Gather your seed-starting supplies if you want to get a head start on spring by starting seeds indoors. The early-season plants should be started indoors by the end of the month. Go ahead and place your orders from mail-order services to get the best selection of plants and seeds.
- Give your houseplants a little love. Trim, groom, clean, divide and re-pot as needed. Still hanging on to that Christmas poinsettia? Take the pot out of the foil wrap and place them in another container to catch overflow water. Keep it in bright sunlight and the soil evenly moist. When the color starts to fade, cut it back to about half and continue to treat it like a houseplant. After the danger of frost, move it outdoors where its lovely green foliage will grow all summer.
The Garden Girls also have advice on how to protect landscape plants during a deep freeze:
- When the temperatures are below freezing, avoid contact with trees and shrubs because frozen plants can break easily. Ice-laden plants are especially prone to breakage. Lightly cover plants that are subject to winter damage, but avoid using plastic, which can heat up too much when the sun is out. Don’t walk on frozen grass.
- If you do find winter damage, don’t be in a rush to prune. Remove broken limbs, but if it’s simply burned foliage you see, wait to see if the damage is superficial; it may bounce back.
Think of January as a time of anticipation. Spring will be here before you know it. Here are the dates of a few favorite Middle Tennessee events that you can put on your calendar now:
- The 2014 Nashville Lawn & Garden Show will run from February 27 – March 2 at the Tennessee State Fairgrounds. This year’s theme is “Wine & Roses” and will offer visitors the chance to sample wine from area vineyards.
- The Perennial Plant Society’s annual plant sale is scheduled for April 5 at the Tennessee State Fairgrounds in Nashville. Doors open at 9 a.m. There will be more than 450 varieties of plants for gardens big and small, plus expert advice on choosing and growing the perfect plant from PPS gardeners. Free admission; parking fee at the Fairgrounds is $5. For more details and a full plant list visit www.ppsmt.org.
- The sixth annual Herb & Craft Fair sponsored by First Unitarian Universalist Church of Nashville is planned for April 26. Shop for herb seedlings, heirloom tomatoes and other plants, and a wide selection of handcrafted items: pressed-flower cards, calendars, gift and jewelry items; natural handmade soaps with essential oils and fragrant herbs; Sewn and hand-knit items, sweet breads, herb breads, spice mixes and rubs, herbal vinegars, jams, jellies, chutney and more.