December Garden To-Do List
“From December to March, there are for many of us three gardens –
the garden outdoors,
the garden of pots and bowls in the house,
and the garden of the mind’s eye.”
– Katherine S. White
1. Protection & Preparation
If you haven’t already, be sure to wrap special trees and shrubs to protect them against critters during the winter. Also, protect certain species that you know are attractive to voles/rabbits/deer, such as arborvitae, fothergilla, and oakleaf hydrangea.
Besides mentally prepping for snow accumulation, don’t forget to physically prepare. Now is a good time to make sure you have proper snow removal tools – Do you need a new scoop shovel? Did your winter boots leak last year? Where is that ice scraper…
Once the snow starts to fly, monitor your garden. It’s peaceful and beautiful when snow piles up, but keep in mind too much can be damaging. Heavy, wet snow accumulations can put stress on the branches, causing them to hang down lower or worse, break! Don your most snow-proof winter clothing and get out there to brush off the snow! Focus on your evergreens, especially arborviate spp. and boxwood spp. are most susceptible. It is best to brush off from the ground up so that you’re not causing more damage batting down at the branches.
2. Winter Pruning
Winter is the perfect time to prune trees and shrubs, especially since all the leaves have dropped it makes it easier to see the structure. Another perk – most pests and diseases that are attracted to open wounds of trees are inactive this time of year, so less chance of infecting your plants!
3. Decorate for the Holidays!
Try making a DIY wreath, reclaimed wood trees, or create some winter container displays this year! Not sure how to make a winter container? Read last week’s blog post here for step-by-step instructions.
4. Switch to Indoor Gardening Activities
Take an educational class from UW-Extension, they have an excellent 2017 Green Thumb Gardening Series!! There are plenty of workshops and classes to choose from at Olbrich Botanical Gardens too. Lots you can do to keep you active and thinking about your garden all winter long!
5. Choose a New Book!
Bored with your winter surroundings already? Grab a new gardening book and start gathering inspiration for next year! Pinterest is also a fun place to see lots of ideas and pin photos to save for spring. Here a quick list of a few of our favorite gardening books –
- Growing the Midwest Garden by Edward Lyon (former director of the Allen Centennial Garden, get your copy here)
- Vintage Wisconsin Gardens: A History of Home Gardening
- by Lee Somerville (from the WI Historical Society Press)
- Garden Wisdom: Lessons Learned from 60 Years of Gardening (another good one about vegetable gardening from the WI Historical Society Press)
- Hot Plants for Cool Climates: Gardening With Tropical Plants in Temperate Zones by Dennis Schrader (pick it up here)