The days are shorter, and it gets downright chilly after the sun goes down. There are some timely things you can do this season in the garden:
Decorate. It’ll be Christmas and New Year’s before you know it. Most of us like to put up seasonal decorations inside and out, but oftentimes folks neglect to think of the plants as an extension of that holiday feel. Try something you’ve never tried- instead of cut greens that slowly wither,
hang a living wreath that will grow and bloom for months. Tired of cleaning up fallen needles? Bring a fragrant citrus tree inside to use as a Christmas tree.
Use air plants as ornaments. Bring in lichen-covered branches instead of garland. Gettin’ the drift?
There are also the classics to consider- poinsettias, Christmas cactus, evergreen and ivy topiaries. Put a container of forced paperwhites or hyacinth on the table, or some potted amaryllis.
Winter Blooming Perennials are full of buds and ready to give us color and fragrance while many plants are dormant or not flowering. Gorgeous winter daphne, sweet ‘Happy Wanderer’ hardenbergia vines, old fashioned hellebore are a showy compliment to the classic camellias and rhododendrons we have loved for years.
These cold-lovers are an important component for keeping color in the garden year-round. Put in things like tulip trees, dogwoods, forsythia, wisteria and flowering quince- they may not look like much now, with their bare branches, but in another month or 2 there will be masses of showy flowers making a spectacle of themselves.
Winter annuals are not to be forgotten, as they compliment these perennials and perform when little else is blooming. Great for flowerbeds, borders, and in pots with perennials and underplanted bulbs. Click here to learn about them.
Roses are arriving this month, thousands of bare root just itching to get planted. We prune and plant each one ourselves, then grow and tend them throughout the season to make sure the quality is as stellar as possible. You may reserve your selections ahead of time to buy them bare root, but they will need to be planted within a day or 2, so many folks will buy them already potted in a 5-gallon can. It’s a great time to plant, and the selection is best this time of year- check out what is coming.
It’s getting closer to rose pruning time, too. Most of us will try to wait until the first of the year (Jan./Feb.) but if you are compelled to prune, go for it. Pull off any remaining leaves after you finish, as they can harbor disease spores and insect eggs. Clean up any fallen debris for that same reason, then follow up with a good shot of liquid copper to seal the deal- it kills of all the mildew, black spot and rust that would be waiting to sprout forth next spring.