Southeast Gardener's January Checklist

Southeast Gardener's January Checklist

January is a good time to look back on your gardening season and plan for your year ahead. Walk around your backyard and take photos. Seeing your backyard throughout the lens is notification, and studying these images can help you determine where you might choose to make changes. What you might pass by every day and don’t notice as you’re used to looking at it will appear in the images. Better still, picture your backyard each month as a photo journal of what is blooming and if.

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Plant bulbs. When the ground is not frozen, bulbs can still be planted. Look for sales now and plant. I like adding bulbs to containers; that way I can easily situate the splash of color where I want it most.

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Do winter cleanup. Wildlife welcomes cover, especially in the winter. Leaving woody perennials, for example Arkansas blue celebrity (Amsonia hubrichtii), asters and Assessing roses, to list a few, up during the winter is extremely helpful for our outdoor friends. Lots of life gathers under the spent foliage.

I cut back soft-stemmed perennials, such as Crinums, Elephant Ears (Colocasia) and cannas, as soon as they have been “melted” from the frost.

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Watch for pests. Check shrubs and trees for tent caterpillar egg whites and bagworms. Remove any that you find. Tent caterpillar egg whites are grey and varnished looking, and form a collar round rhythms. Bagworms look somewhat like a pinecone and hang in the end of branches.

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If you haven’t already cleaned your hosta beds, now is a good time to remove the dead foliage. Don’t give slugs any advantage. Even if the expression of the previous season’s cannas does not bother you, then take them down. Leaf rollers like to winter.

Paintbox Garden

Feed the birds. My winter garden is full of food to the wintering birds, but I want to see my feathered friends from the interior of my home, also. So during the chilly season, I place feeders where they may be viewed best from the interior. One of the best all-around seed for birds is black-oil sunflower. This seed has a high meat-to-shell ratio, it is high in fat, and it is sized perfectly for most seed eaters.

More on attracting birds to the backyard

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Consider veggies. A warm January day is a good excuse to get out and work your garden dirt. If you have not had the soil tested in a couple of years, now is a good time to do so. A soil test will give you an assessment of pH and if you require other nutrients, like lime.

Soil recommendations derive from what you are growing or planning to grow. By way of example, blueberries require a pH of approximately 4.8, whereas berries prefer 5.8 to nearly neutral.

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Layer on organic mulch. Incorporating or top-dressing using a thick blanket of an organic thing — like compost, composted leaf mold or mulch — is helpful in the vegetable garden and garden beds.

Rebekah Zaveloff | KitchenLab

Cut some branches for indoor pleasure. Together with all the holiday parties behind us and chilly sporting on, why don’t you cheer up the interior of your home with blooming branches. Forsythia, pussy willow, quince, winter honeysuckle and redbud are all good branches to induce to blossom early.

Collect long branches, cut a slant using a sharp knife or clippers, and place the stems in a vase of water. Change the water every four days. Within about four weeks, then your branches will probably blossom.

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Enjoy winter flowers. The most frequent camellias grown in our region are Camellia sasanqua and Camellia japonicas. Camellia sasanquas blossom from September to January and tend to get a mass of little flowers ( as compared to C. japonicas) flowering all at one time. They’re also tolerant of a few sun. Camellia japonicas blossom from September to March and tend to have fewer flowers bloom at one time.

Camellias like acidic soil with some organic matter in semishady ailments. To discourage camellia petal blight, rake spent flowers which have fallen underneath the bushes.

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