We just spent a week in Michigan, where the landscape seemed to be at its peak. The grass was emerald green, the orchards were bursting with fruit and the flower beds were exquisite. I was awed by the masses of dark purple coneflower surrounded by dazzling yellow black eyed Susan’s and Cranesbill geraniums in full bloom everywhere. Hydrangeas and Hibiscus were everywhere, with blooms as big as dinner plates. It was absolutely inspiring.
One of the problems with winter garden maintenance is that many best practices are often dependent on location, weather conditions and plant species. While this makes it difficult to provide hard and fast rules for everyone, there are a few wintertime maintenance dos and don’ts that hold true regardless of where you live. To help the newer gardeners this winter, we’ve put together a short list of some important winter do's and don'ts.
My birthday is just around the corner, which means that it is time for our annual Christmas conversation – should we buy a real tree or an artificial tree this year? I’m not sure why we still have the conversation since for 47 years we’ve come to the same conclusion, but it seems wise to rehash all the pros and cons before we head out to buy the most perfect 7 foot Douglas Fir we can find.
I have spent the last two months cleaning debris from my mimosa tree off of my front patio, porch and even my entryway. I love the tree in the summer when it is covered in blooms and hummingbirds are flocking to its sweet nectar, but I have to admit that I curse at it a bit the rest of the year. Why anyone would plant such a messy tree right next to the house is way beyond my understanding.
As we discussed last time, this year’s lack of consistent precipitation has put enormous stress on your lawn. But grass isn’t the only plant that suffers - Trees, shrubs and perennials feel the effects of drought too, and can react in a variety of ways.
We've been having a lot of tree conversations lately. My daughter is determined to get several planted this fall, and I would love to add something else to my grove of serviceberry in the front. What we are learning is that autumn is an excellent time to plant many, but not all, trees and shrubs. Knowing which species to plant, when to plant them and how to take care of them can help ensure fall landscaping success.
My daughter moved into a brand new house earlier this summer. Like so many new builds, the landscaping allowance included one sad, lonely tree stuck on the corner and three bushes – her choice from an unimaginative standard list. Bit by bit she’s been adding to the yard, but now it’s time to do some serious tree planting. Before that first shovel breaks the ground though, she has lots to consider.
I took an objective look at my front yard this week and determined it was sadly lacking in fall color. My four yellow mums in pots flanking the doorway just didn’t bring me quite enough joy. (Yes, I admit it – I have been doing a Marie Kondo purge) What I really want are huge bursts of riotous color and texture before a long Midwestern winter with its ice, snow and freezing temperatures sets in.