Louise Grabell, Pinal County Master Gardener
What do gardeners do in January? This is a stressful time of the year and psychological help might be needed! Gardeners need to garden. I, myself, have been suffering withdrawal from my garden! But here’s a temporary solution for the January garden blahs: start planning for spring. Yup! That’s the ticket. Get out pen and pad and take a walk around your estate and make some notes about what needs to be done.
Here’s my list: (1) Clean out and re-organize my tool shed. I have a small closet which holds everything I ever bought for working in the garden. It’s a mess! I’m not even sure I know what’s in there! And while doing that, it brings me to (2) which is to clean and sharpen my cutting tools. This is a must since I do my own pruning and my lopers and nippers need some TLC. (3) Go to the garden center and get a supply of citrus fertilizer, potting soil and garden fertilizer. This is good to do while the weather is cool and my citrus orchard will need to be fertilized early next month. No kidding—I am surrounded by citrus trees. (4) As I walk around my estate, I notice the piles of dropped leaves under the citrus trees and oleander. Looks like autumn in New York! So I’ve got to do some raking—you can have your landscaper clean that up for you. (5) Some of the decorative rocks need re-placement since they have moved out of position. I’ve created rock pathways throughout my gardens so I can walk around without destroying the garden soil and some seem to have moved. And that brings me to (6) which is to purchase soil amendment for the flower gardens. This has to be added every year to bring the garden soil back to good condition. You should also change the soil in the containers you plant in each year as they lose fertility each growing season. Just dump the old soil into your flower garden and put new soil into the containers. Now you are ready for some cool-weather plants like snapdragons and geraniums for your planters. (8) If you’ve got perennials like me, see what needs dividing and sharing. I’ve already given away tons of bearded iris and there are other perennials that need to be reduced in size as they have spread over the years. And there are two I hate, so bye-bye babies! Yup—no time left to spend on plants that don’t give me any joy. (9) Tally up what will need pruning because by the end of this month, you can tackle those trees and shrubs that need some size reduction. Do not allow your landscaper to buzz-clip your plants. Yuk!
Your Master Gardeners invite you to visit their website: http://saddlebrookemastergardeners.org/ for all up-to-date information and events for your community. Garden questions? You can reach our very own Garden Helpline by calling Pat at 407-6459.
Remember, nothing brings more tranquility to the heart than a beautiful garden.