Red Deer & District Garden Club

MONTHLY TO DO LIST

 
JANUARY
  • Browse through garden books and magazines for inspiration. January is perfect time to plan the upcoming season's garden. Plan, design, refine and map out the garden. Study the bones of your garden for form and balance. Make a wish list, divide list into what you want to accomplish this year, what to do in future years. Do some planning on paper for any changes you want to make. In addition, make plans for this year's garden projects. Contact tradepeople, if necessary to get quotes on work.
  • Sort through seed packets left over from last year. Test seeds for viability by wrapping a few seeds in moist paper towel. Label and keep at room temperature in a plastic bag. Most seeds should germinate in a week or less. Either transplant to indoor pots or discard if too early to be started. Discard packets of seed that are too old to germinate.
  • Send in your seed orders from catalogues.
  • If you have potted bulbs for forcing last fall, it's time to check their progress. Keep soil barely moist. If tips have sprouted 5cm or more, bring into a bright, cool room (12 to 15 C). Gradually expose to increasing warmth and indirect sunlight. Water frequently and feed weekly with half-strength houseplant fertilizer. Turn pot every day to keep stem straight. Bring into full sunlight when bud and foliage are developed.
  • Regularly check stored tubers and corms to see that they don't become completely dry. Undetected rot can quickly spread throughout the entire collection, so throw out any suspect bulbs, corms or tubers.
  • During prolonged dry spells with little snow cover or during extended Chinooks, water over-wintered tender roses situated on the south or the west side of the house to keep roots moist.
  • Reshape the over-wintered geranium, which was started from cuttings, by pruning the newest tips.
  • Check stored fruits and vegetables. Discard moldy ones.
  • Keep an eye on your houseplants for the onset of insect or fungal disease problems. Clean houseplant foliage regularly with a soft damp cloth; use an old clean toothbrush on fuzzy leaves.
  • Remember the birds; keep feeders clean and filled.
FEBRUARY
  • Buy or clean seed-starter flats.
  • It's a good time to start seeds, particularly perennials. This way you should have healthy, robust plants for transplanting into the garden during late May or even early June. It's also a good time to start some annuals this month. Annuals that can be started include: lobelia, impatiens, dusty miller, single and double petunias, and pansy. Record sowing and germination dates in the "Sowing & Planting" section of the book.
  • Store leftover seeds in the refrigerator, not the freezer. Seeds prefer cool, dry and dark conditions. If the seeds are stored in an airtight container, add a couple small packs of silica to help absorb moisture.
  • Fertilize seedlings as soon as the second (true) set of leaves appears. Use a soluble organic fertilizer with a higher phosphorous level.
  • Last year's Geraniums (Pelargoniums) that have been in storage can be brought out of their hibernation toward in February, and gradually brought back to life. Trim the stems to 1/3 their original height and place in location with direct sunlight. Water enough to moisten the soil. When new growth appears, remove the plant from it's pot and shake off the old soil. Re-pot using new soil. Fertilize every 2 weeks with 20-20-20-. Once new shoots are 3-4 inches long, take cuttings from the plant and discard the original plant. Many times Geraniums that have been stored over several winters never regain their original vigor, but if cuttings are taken the resulting plants will be just as good as the parents. If you kept your Geraniums growing under lights or in a window during the winter, you can take cuttings from these plants as well toward the end of February. Place plants in sunny window and keep evenly moist. Fertilize every second week with 10-52-10 at half-strength. These steps can also be used for fuchsia plants that have been over-wintered. With fuchsia, you can allow the original plant to continue growing, and also take cutting a total of 2 or 3 times.
  • Satisfy those green thumb urges by propagating indoor plants from stem cuttings.
  • If you want to make decorative wreaths or other projects from willow, start collecting willow and discontinue when buds are swollen.
MARCH
  • Begonias can also be brought out of storage or purchased from the garden center and planted.
  • Tulips forced for indoor blooms may be finished and should be allowed to die back naturally in the pot. Gradually reduce water over the next few weeks and when they look decayed and all the petals have fallen off place them in a cool garage or basement. Water only when the soil is dry, about once a month or so. Other forced bulbs (crocus, muscari, hyacinth, paperwhites) should be discarded after blooming as they cannot be forced again.
  • Pinch back leggy seedlings and cuttings to just above the first pair of true leaves.
  • Thin out seedlings already started or transplant seedlings into larger containers being careful not to damage stems.
  • Start tomato seeds indoors at the end of March.
  • Some annuals that can be sown at this time are alyssum, asters, annual statice, menesia, portulaca, marigolds, african daisy, and most herbs. Record sowing and germination dates in the "Sowing & Planting" section of the book.
  • Evergreens located close to the house foundation, such as mugo pine (Pinus mugo) and junipers (Juniperus spp.), will also need watering now if the soil is dry. Hose down foliage as needles absorb moisture.
  • If the weather warms up some pruning of shrubs and trees can be undertaken. We can begin by examining trees and shrubs before the leaves emerge to determine if some pruning is required. Avoid removing more than 1/3 of the entire tree or shrub. Cut to an outward-facing bud and don't remove the branch collar. Remember that under no circumstances should birches or maples be pruned in the spring. They will bleed from the fresh cuts as the sap rises in the spring. Summer or autumn is the best time to prune birches and maples.
  • If tulip bulbs are coming up prematurely, cover them with available snow or evergreen branches to keep the soil cooler.
  • Indoor plants will soon begin to respond to the longer, brighter days. They will benefit from more water and an application of fertilizer. Re-pot those plants that have become too large for their pots. Make sure the new pot possesses adequate drainage so that the soil does not become waterlogged, and the roots rot.
  • Perhaps it is also the time to begin visiting local nurseries, to buy replacement tools or seeds and other supplies.
APRIL
  • Start seeds such as clarkia, godetia, zinnia and lavatera.
  • Mid-April dahlia tubers can be brought out of storage and planted. They can be treated the same as tuberous begonias.
  • Feed seedlings regularly with 20-20-20 diluted to half strength.
  • As seedlings grow, raise lights, but not more than three inches above the top leaves.
  • Cut branches of pussy willow for indoor arrangements. Nanking cherry (Prunus tomentosa) and double flowering plum (Prunus triloba 'Multiplex') can also be forced for indoor blooms. Cut branches from the base of the trunk or those that would have been pruned after flowering. Place in a vase with cool water.
  • Gradually remove any winter mulch and protective mounds and screens. Pull mulch back from crowns of perennials that are growing in stages, a little at a time to allow the plants to adjust slowly to the weather.
  • Warm your garden soil by moistening it and then covering it with clear plastic for one or two weeks. This will trigger germination of weed seeds that can then be pulled before your crop goes in.
  • Prune evergreens, if needed.
  • Leaves we had no chance to remove in the autumn, for one reason or another, can be raked off. With a light-weight-fan-shaped rake, gently remove leaves, twigs and other debris from lawns when dry enough to walk on.
  • From mid April onwards we can begin to cultivate flowerbeds and borders as soon as the ground is dry. We can tidy herbaceous beds and borders by cutting back the dead foliage and stems before the new growth emerges.
  • Dig and amend soil in planting beds, if dry enough, and rake to a fine tilth. Dig over the vegetable garden and sow hardy vegetable crops. We can also apply fertilizer to the beds and borders.
  • Check that eavestroughs and downspouts drain properly and setup rain barrels and outfalls.
  • Any ragged hedges may be trimmed or pruned at this time of the year.
  • As soon as the soil can be worked it is time to plant and transplant trees and shrubs. Bare rooted specimens should be planted before they have broken into leaf; ones in containers can be planted anytime in the growing season. Conifers should be planted now to give them ample time to establish their root systems before winter.
  • As plants grow keep an eye out for insect pests.
  • We can admire the beauty of bulbs planted last autumn.
  • In late April or early May, cut down all clematis vines except spring-flowering types.
  • Start taking pictures of your garden.
  • Create a compost heap or start one in a commercial composter. Begin with any branches or twigs lying around or prunings (disease-free) you have saved. Add a layer of good garden soil or manure, then a layer of kitchen waste such as vegetable cuttings, leftovers, coffee grounds, eggshells and discarded fruit parts. Alternate layers of garden soil with kitchen waste, lawn cuttings, leaves and other organic debris. Poke the pile to aerate it, but do not turn the layers until the weather warms up in about eight weeks. Keep adding material during this period. The pile will warm up while the contents decompose. If the pile starts to emit an odor, the compost is too wet and should be turned to dry it out a bit.
MAY
  • Remove dead, weak or crossing branches from hardy shrub roses; prune back tip-kill to green wood, just above an outward facing bud.
  • Re-pot your poinsettia and set the plant outdoors, away from direct light. Water and fertilize on a regular basis throughout the summer months. Pinch new growth regularly to maintain stalkiness.
  • Remove protective coverings from over-wintered tender roses in early May; roughly when native trees leaf out. If frost is expected, cover with burlap.
  • Check out the state of your fence. They may require some repair or painting.
  • Complete the clean up of lawns. About mid-month fertilize with a slow-release fertilizer and water entire lawn thoroughly. Mow if lawn is at least 3" tall.
  • Seed a batch of hardy vegetables such as peas, beets and spinach out-of-doors, in early May.
  • Seed annuals such as clarkia , larkspur, lavatera and nasturtiums directly out-of-doors.
  • Begin to harden off indoor-started plants by placing in a lightly shaded area protected from the wind. This also includes geraniums. Gradually expose plants to cooler temperatures for longer periods each day. Put indoors at night if frost is predicted. Do this for two to three weeks prior to planting in order to reduce transplant shock.
  • Lift, divide and replant herbaceous perennials that need rejuvenating. Divide and transplant late-blooming perennials such as coneflower, globe thistle and stonecrop. General rule of thumb is if it flowers early, divide and transplant late; if it flowers late, divide and transplant early. Share remainders at the Plant Exchange.
  • Watch for perennial weeds and dig out the roots. Remove weeds when they are young, before they go to seed.
  • Check trees and shrubs for sucker sprouts, and cut back.
  • Plant up container pots, hanging baskets and window boxes. Fertilize with a 10-52-10 fertilizer to reduce transplant shock. Check planting arrangements that have worked before or any new drafts you have jotted down. Protect if there is a treat of frost. Bring them in at night if necessary.
  • Starting checking growing tips of delphiniums and monkshood for caterpillar; pick them out of curled-over foliage and destroy.
  • Check and control slugs. Dispose of all residue under which slugs can hide and lay eggs.
  • Check for spruce budworm in early to late May.
  • Record which tulips or other spring flowering bulbs gave the best show of color and record any areas in need of spring color for next year. Plant fast growing annuals (pansy, nasturtiums) in front of and around bulbs whose foliage is yellowing. Remove spent flowers and allow the fading leaves to die back naturally. Fertilize early-flowering spring bulbs (tulips, daffodils) after blooming to optimize development of next year's bulbs.
  • As soon as possible, after the last frost, plant gladiolus. Inspect corms and discard all those with rot.
  • Water flowerbeds early in the morning to prevent diseases such as blackspot and mildew.
  • Water lawn deeply to encourage strong roots.
  • Review wish list and garden plans created over the winter and write up a list of annuals or perennials needed. Record suppliers, varieties, and numbers of plants purchased and where they will be planted.
  • Keep birdbaths freshly filled and clean. Replenish bird feeders.
JUNE
  • Sow tender crops out-of-doors that do not transplant well.
  • Transplant pre-started warm season crops and as seeds germinate in the garden, thin out the seedlings. Plant potatoes and tender vegetables and annuals after June 1.
  • Mulch flowerbeds with organic material to retain soil moisture and reduce weeds. Weeds will appear, so annual weeds may be sliced at soil level with a sharp hoe. Others, such as dandelions and quack grass should be dug out carefully, making sure all the roots or rhizomes are removed, otherwise a little while later these weeds will again appear.
  • Climbing plants may have to be tied up or staked. Encourage vines up trellises by tucking wandering shoots in and secure climbing roses to supports with soft ties.
  • Tuberous begonias and dahlias can be planted out into well-drained soil rich in organic matter.
  • When the leaves and stems of spring flowering bulbs have decayed to the point that they are soft and pliable, they can be snipped off tightly to the ground.
  • Finish planting tubs, window boxes or other containers.
  • Tough houseplants can be moved outdoors into a shady spot. Planting of annuals should be completed.
  • If the weather becomes hot and dry raise the cutting height of the mower. Application of a mulch layer will help conserve water but take care not to put on too thick a layer. A heavy layer of mulch can prevent penetration of moisture to the roots during rain.
  • If plants are not drought tolerant, water regularly as a supplement to rain. One inch per week if rainfall is insufficient.
  • Water containerized plants regularly. Hanging baskets and small pots should be checked morning and evening in hot or windy weather. Fertilize containers every two weeks with a balanced fertilizer.
  • Water lawn deeply to encourage strong roots.
  • Prune out the oldest wood on early-flowering shrubs, such as double flowering plums and Nanking cherry, after flowering. Do not remove more than 1/3 of the branches. Remove up to half the new growth (candles) on mugho pines before they open, to control size and shape.
  • Check the compost pile, poking to aerate it.
  • Assemble stakes, cages and grids to support tall or floppy plants like delphiniums, dahlias, gladiolus, peonies or lilies. Set in place before plants get too big.
  • Deadhead spent flowers and stems unless attractive seedheads are wanted for dried arrangements.
  • Prune birch and maple once they are fully leafed out; remove only a small number of branches in any one-year.
  • Keep an eye out for insect or disease damage and take the necessary steps to effect control. Hose down cedars, junipers and spruce once a week with a forceful spray of water to reduce infestation of spider mites. Plants can be sprayed with a strong jet from the garden hose to keep aphid populations down. Remember that rose foliage is damaged by water. Check birch trees for birch leaf miner. Birch leaf miner has natural predators and if your tree is otherwise healthy and well watered, chemical control may not be necessary. Check lilacs for leaf miner damage. Remove infected leaves (brown and brittle, curled or skeletonized) and destroy before the larvae drop to the ground to pupate. Sanitize hand-pruners when done. Check hostas for slug damage. Try sprinkling crushed eggshells or cayenne pepper around plants, or place wooden planks nearby. Slugs enjoy dark cool places and will congregate under the planks. The next morning lift the planks and remove slugs.
  • Fertilize lawn towards the end of June or first part of July.
  • Keep birdbaths freshly filled and clean. Replenish bird feeders.
JULY
  • Irrigate a minimum of one inch of water per week, more in hot weather or in hot areas of the garden. Water lawn deeply to encourage strong roots.
  • If the lawn wasn't fertilize in the latter part of June it should be done now. Keep up fertilizer schedule for container plants. Fertilize the dahlias, peonies and roses.
  • Continue to watch for and control insect pests and diseases. Downy and powdery mildews may quickly cover leaves and young stems, especially in wet weather. Some control of this problem may be achieved by clearing excess vegetation to allow light to penetrate and air to circulate. Remove the mildewed foliage from perennials that have already flowered (pulmonaria, centaurea) and dispose. If necessary, spray with a fungicide to control further spread.
  • Keep on top of weeds as they always grow quickly after wet weather followed by warm sunny days. Dig out the dandelions and thistles, roots and all. Annual weeds may be tackled with a sharp hoe on a warm sunny day.
  • Thin crowded vegetables. Prune out secondary branches growing from the leaf axils of some tomatoes.
  • Shear Silver Mound artemisia to maintain a neater form. Shear back stretched annuals such as lobelia for fresh growth and bloom.
  • Lift, divide and replant overcrowded bearded irises that no longer bloom well in late July to early August.
  • Enjoy the harvest and flavour of early vegetables fresh from the garden.
  • Dead-head annual and perennial flowers to encourage repeat flowering.
  • Remove spent rose blooms and cut to the first leaf with a new bud.
  • Collect flower heads, fallen petals and leaves for pressing.
  • Thin out old wood from shrubs that have finished flowering.
  • Adjust plant ties upwards on stakes as plants grow taller.
  • Trim hedges lightly (new growth only).
  • Replenish bird feeders.
AUGUST
  • Harvest herbs for drying.
  • Cut flowers for everlasting bouquets and hang upside down in bunches to dry. Store in a cool, dry area indoors, in a potting shed or in the garage.
  • Keep potatoes in the dark. Hill with earth or mulch to prevent them from turning green and becoming inedible.
  • Allow strawberry runners to grow where you want them but remove from other areas before they become invasive.
  • Fertilize the lawn one last time for the season before the middle of August.
  • Remove fallen fruit and mulch around fruit trees to keep insect pests from establishing.
  • Keep up with weeding; placing weeds in the garbage.
  • Continue to water on a regular schedule.
  • Continue fertilizing annual planting and containers.
  • Make notes about perennials and annuals for next year's garden.
  • Discontinue fertilizing trees, shrubs and roses.
  • Stop deadheading hardy roses in late August.
  • Turn the compost pile. Continue adding garden soil, kitchen waste and garden debris.
  • Make notes on where you want to plant spring-flowering bulbs next month.
  • Remove mildewed or black-spotted foliage into garbage bags for disposal.
  • Gather seeds. Choose the healthiest, most productive plants. Seeds should be thoroughly dry to store well. Place in envelopes, paper bags or jars with a packet of silica. Store in a cool, dark place.
  • Towards the end of the month, slow down on watering, so plants can begin to toughen for the fall.
  • Spend an afternoon taking photographs of your garden to enjoy during the winter months and make sketches of the garden for your journal. Record spaces in the flowerbeds that need filling in next year. Record which perennials are overgrown and will need dividing next year. Examine your garden to ensure you have late-blooming perennials.
  • Water lawn deeply to encourage strong roots.
  • Replenish bird feeders.
SEPTEMBER
  • In the first part of September take geranium cuttings before first frost. Geraniums may also be lifted, individually potted up, cut back and then grown under lights.
  • This is the time of year when the frequency of frosts increases. Assemble a supply of old towels, sheets, etc for frost covers. If you cover bedding plants at night when frost is threatened you may be able to extend the growing season well into September or even, if you are lucky early October. You can also keep containers going as long as possible by placing them indoors if frost is predicted.
  • After hard frost transplant lilies. Divide old peony clumps that have outgrown their allotted space. Last chance to lift, divide and replant irises. Take extras to the garden club fall plant exchange.
  • Annuals favourite such as an Impatiens can be potted up and keep growing in a sunny window or even under lights.
  • Take cuttings of begonias and impatiens for indoor plants. Dip cuttings in root transplant hormone to help them root faster. It is a good idea to keep them segregated from other houseplants and watch for any mites or white flies. At first sign of insects, spray with soap and water solution or insecticidal soap.
  • Dig up gladioli corms and begonia tubers and store in peat moss in a cool, dry place. Dahlia tubers also need to lifted and placed into winter storage.
  • Bring your poinsettia indoors prior to the first frost and keep it in complete darkness for at least 14 hours a day. From 6 p.m. to 8 a.m. is convenient for most people. For the period the plant is uncovered, ensure it is set out in a sunny location or kept under a lighting fixture that will provide enough light to closely mimic the sun's rays. Fertilize regularly and keep the soil moist, but not soggy. Continue this dark/light schedule for about 8 weeks.
  • Acquire and plant spring flowering bulbs (tulips, daffodils, hyacinths, etc) as soon as possible. They need time to develop strong root systems.
  • Tulip bulbs that were forced earlier in the year and have been in limbo in the garage can now be planted out in the garden. Remove the decayed stems and leaves and transplant to the correct depth.
  • Following overnight frosts, mist tender flowers with a sprinkler before the sun touches them; you may save some of them.
  • Continue reducing water applied to roses and perennials, but do not let them dry out completely.
  • Continue checking for pest and disease damage.
  • Water lawn deeply to encourage strong roots. Grass continues to grow almost to freeze-up.
  • Remove debris and fallen leaves from around the base of roses. Rake leaves from the lawn and flowerbeds.
  • Harvest your vegetables and fruit, including tomatoes. Some root crops may be left until just before the ground freezes. Remember to save the disease free discarded parts, such as the leaves, for the compost bin or pile.
  • Poke and turn the compost pile throughout the month. Add deadhead flowers, expired annuals, leaves, and grass clippings.
  • Onions will keep better if given a couple of weeks of warm, dry conditions before being moved to a cool, well-ventilated storage area. The onion neck should be shriveled rather than plump and green. Squash can also be treated in this manner.
  • Before any really hard frosts, transplant any trees and shrubs as soon as the show signs of dormancy.
  • Hose down evergreens as needles absorb moisture. Organic antidesiccants can be sprayed on sensitive evergreens to reduce moisture loss during the winter.
  • Checking cut flowers for everlasting bouquets. If they're dry, cut individual flowers for arrangements or for use in project later, wrap bunches in tissue paper and store them in a labeled cardboard box. The box should have a couple of holes at either end to allow air to circulate. Add a small packet of organic desiccant to absorb any moisture.
  • Fences can be checked over, as can pathways, for damage rotting wood, and repairs can be undertaken. Other garden structures can also be checked and repaired if necessary. If weather does not permit, make note for next spring.
  • Remove the dead and dying foliage from those perennials that are prone to disease.
  • Commence tidying the garden for winter.
  • Replenish bird feeders.
OCTOBER
  • Water perennials, roses, deciduous trees and shrubs, and coniferous plants deeply and thoroughly before freeze-up.
  • Pot bulbs (daffodils, including paperwhite, muscari, snowdrops, hyacinth, tulips and crocus) for forcing into bloom in late winter.
  • Check geranium cuttings transplanted into pots last month for slight moist soil. Water if required. A light watering is all they need. Too much water may cause rot at the base. Geraniums brought indoors as houseplants will need to be pruned and stored. When blooming ceases, cut away half of the growth and store in a cool, dark spot at 7 - 10° C. Water only enough to keep the soil from becoming completely dry. All the leaves will fall off and the stems will become woody.
  • Plants that were brought into the house from the garden earlier should be check to see if any insect pests have appeared. If so, spray them, however first determine what the pest is and then follow the appropriate treatment.
  • Shut off outdoor faucets to prevent pipes from freezing. Disconnect garden hoses, drain and store in a frost free location.
  • Rake leaves off lawns, then mow grass to a lower height.
  • Clean garden tools and power tools, store away for the winter. Clean and organize storage area. Have the lawn mower serviced, as well as any other power gardening equipment. Have blades of lawn mowers (all types) professionally sharpened. Then all will be ready the following spring.
  • Store any fertilizers in a dry place.
  • Stockpile leaves for mulching or composting.
  • Mulch newly planted bulbs and spring flowering perennials.
  • Protect tender roses with large bottomless pails or styrofoam cones filled with peat moss or dry leaves. Mounding up earth around them or, digging them up and burying them in a trench, and covering with straw or old carpets can also protect them. After mounding and some days before burying in a trench, cut the tops of these roses to half their height
  • Strawberry plants will benefit from some protection by placing straw over them.
  • Dwarf Rhododendrons (Azaleas) as well as other tender plants, can be protected by surrounding each plant with chicken wire and filling up the interior with fallen leaves. Such a covering will help protect the buds from damage.
  • When the leaves have fallen and deciduous trees or shrubs have gone dormant, they can be pruned.
  • Potted plants, not planted, should be buried up to their rims in soil, or place in a cold frame and insulate with dry mulch.
  • Shade cold frames from winter sun.
  • Empty soil from ceramic or terra-cotta pots and thoroughly clean before storing inside.
  • Clean eavestroughs and downspouts.
  • Clean birdbath and birdfeeders. Cover birdbath with tarp or store in garage. Replenish bird feeders.
  • Herbaceous perennials can be cut back and the last remaining weeds removed. Some perennials naturally carry over a low clump of evergreen leaves near the ground (rosette). You may trim back the upright stems back, but the lower leaves should be left alone in the fall. In the spring, all that's needed is a quick trim with the scissors to the brown or dead parts only. This will tidy up the plants. These include: Achillea, Aster, Coreopsis, Digitalis, Erigeron, Fragaria, Gaillardia, Geum, Heuchera, Bearded Iris, Shasta Daisies, Penstemon, Poppies, Polemonium, Potentilla, Salvia, Scabiosa, Stachys, Tiarella, Verbascum, and many of the hardy ferns. The evergreen perennials and alpines should not be trimmed in the fall but rather immediately after blooming (if at all). Ajuga, Alyssum, Arabis, Armeria, Artemisia 'Powis Castle' and 'Huntingdon', Aubrieta, Aurinia, Bergenia, Cerastium, Corydalis, Dianthus, Epimedium (trim in late winter, before new buds appear), evergreen Euphorbia, Helianthemum, Helleborus, Heuchera, Iberis, Kniphofia, Lamium, Lavender, Liriope, Origanum, Phlox (creeping types), Primula, Pulmonaria, Sagina, Saxifraga, Sedum (many creeping types), Sempervivum, Teucrium, Thymus, Viola should all be left alone in the fall.
  • A number of woody-stemmed perennials are also best left alone in the fall, and pruned back in the spring. Leave approximately 6 inches of woody stem for the new buds to appear from. These consist of: Buddleia, Caryopteris, Erysimum 'Bowles' Mauve', Fuchsia, Hypericum, Lavatera, Perovskia (Russian Sage), Phygelius, Santolina.
  • Make notes about garden successes or disasters for planning next year's garden.
  • Enjoy the autumn colours.
NOVEMBER
  • When you notice the color returning to our poinsettia set it in a brightly lit, humid environment. Maintain daytime temperature at 70°F (20°C) and nighttime temperature at 60°F (15°C). To prevent the bracts from falling prematurely, keep your poinsettia away from drafts and windows.
  • Check plants that were brought into the house from the garden in the autumn for any insect pests. Follow the appropriate treatment.
  • Once the ground is frozen apply a layer of mulch to perennials that were cut back as well as tender perennials planted this season. Where insufficient snow accumulates, cover the crowns of herbaceous perennials with mulch. This will help maintain a more constant temperature.
  • Take a couple of pictures of the winter garden. If the garden is rather stark, this will help with next year's planning of adding plant material with interesting bark, berry color or seedheads. Decisions can be made to provide interest to the winter landscape with decorative elements such as an ornate sundial, an obelisk or statue.
  • Remove rotten or withered pieces of tubers or roots from over-wintering begonia, dahlias and gladiolus.
  • Check planted bulbs for forcing for proper moisture. If the soil surface is dry, sprinkle it with water.
  • Check the geranium in storage to ensure it hasn't dried out.
  • One can also send away for seed and plant catalogues, which will hopefully arrive before Christmas.
  • This is a good time of year to begin thinking about Christmas presents for one's gardening friends.
  • Replenish bird feeders.
DECEMBER
  • Rotate houseplants for even exposure to sunlight. Make a mark on the pot and revolve it a quarter turn every week.
  • Use leisure time to research gardening information at libraries, local garden clubs, agricultural departments and gardening centers for new plants and resolving garden problems. Read all those gardening books and magazine you didn't have time for in the summer.
  • Following a snowfall, carefully shake snow from evergreens to lessen the chance of branches breaking. Shovel snow onto beds to provide extra insulation.
  • Save that Christmas tree. Plant in a drift for winter interest and shelter for birds, and use some branches to cover evergreen perennials such as dianthus, saxifrages, bergenia, and peach-leaf bellflower.
  • To save your poinsettia, cut it back to about 8" once the colorful bracts have all fallen off. Keep the soil barely moist, watering it just enough to prevent it from completely drying out. Place the pot in a moderately cool (60°F/15°C) spot until late spring and check on it once in a while to make sure the soil hasn't dried out.
  • If you have started bulbs (hyacinths, daffodils or tulips) for winter flowering, it would be advisable to keep an eye on them, and make sure they remain moist and in the dark until they have established their root systems. Those started early in the autumn may even be ready to bring into the light. If shoots have grown 5-8 cm, bring the pots into a room and place them in indirect light for a few days at first. Allow shoots to color slowly and then place them in bright light. Remember these bulbs will develop best if placed in a cool room; about 15º C
  • Place a pot filled with sand outside in the front entry and create an arrangement of spruce, cedar, pine and berries for the entry.
  • Keep paths ice-free with sand, small amounts of fertilizer, or commercial compounds that are compatible with plants.
  • Review the note made throughout the gardening season, make a list of everything needed and attach to January's planner.
  • Reduce watering of houseplants. Mist plants to counteract the drying effects of home heating.
  • Buy gardening-related gift such as a calendars, book or membership to a gardening club.
  • Check stored corms or tubers you have in storage To make sure they are still all right.
  • Check the geranium in storage to ensure it hasn't dried out.
  • Replenish bird feeders.