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The Queen of Winter -
Setting Priorities in the garden



  Have you ever had a whole day to yourself with lots of pending activities in the garden? You just wander around and hit the high spots, work hard all day only to find that at dusk, you have not finished anything that you started.

Bob Engeman pruning his Muscadine vines.

Special photo

  This happens to me much too frequently. I start to weed a particular bed and find that I need a different pair of gloves. On the way to get my gloves, I come across my pruners and notice that I did not prune a close-by rose bush, so I stop to do so and notice after this that I need to prune the wisteria and then I realize that the perennial border still has old stem sticking out and so on and so on.

  We need to set priorities and stick to them, even in the garden. There are things that must be done right now or the proper time is going to pass. Timing is very important in the garden from pruning to planting to fertilizing to weed control to insect control. All are involved in timing.

  1. Now is the time to finish pruning roses, crape myrtles, vitex, butterfly bush, broadleaf evergreens (hollies, tea olives, nandinas), and muscadines. The rain has slowed down my progress.

  2. It is time to put down summer weed control - if you can get it scattered through the winter weeds. Henbit, poa annua, chickweed love my lawn and flower beds.

  3. Get that weeding done and when you have finished those beds, put down some pre-emergent weed preventative for shrub and flower beds. That will help and so will some good clean mulch. Spray large patches of weeds with weed-killer being careful not to touch anything green that you want to save.

  4. Plant winter vegetables for the last time. It will soon be too hot and they will bolt (flower). Have you tried English Peas lately - do so. Also some Irish potatoes. We just planted some in a bag of potting soil in my elementary school garden club.

  5. Prepare the soil in places where you plan to plant summer vegetables. Collect soil for a soil test and take it to your extension service office. As a matter of fact, collect separate samples from different areas of your landscape and take those along also.

  6. Make a plan of your garden and the spaces that you want to change. A plan will help you space things well and save you time and money.

  7. Dig those daylilies that you want to separate and replant them right away.

  8. Prune spring flowering shrubs when they finish their bloom. Fertilize them and other shrubs and trees as soon as you can - the new growth will use this.

  9. Share some plants with your friends, neighbors and a few strangers. This will help you find some places for new additions.

  10. Enjoy your garden and the activities of the birds and butterflies. Don’t let the bugs, disease, weeds and sudden death of your favorite plant get you down - gardening is a never-ending process.



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