Middle South

January, 2011
Regional Report

Add a Handy Hook

A simple coat hook or two mounted on a tree or post in the garden will save time and steps when you want to remove a jacket as the day warms, or need a safe place for the wrist watch you forgot to take off. The hook will not only keep items safe and secure, they will also keep them in sight, so there's less chance of leaving them exposed to the elements when you head back to the house.

Keep Containers Upright

Planters located in windy spots, especially large pots with tall evergreens, are susceptible to tipping. To keep containers upright, drive a metal or wood stake through the potting mix and the pot's drainage hole and into the soil below. If the stake is a tight fit, add additional holes for drainage.

Revive Shrubs with Radical Pruning

If you have an exuberant shrub that has become leggy and overgrown, consider radical pruning. Mock orange, buddleia, and forsythia are just a few of the easy-care shrubs that can be cut within inches of the ground in the dormant season and quickly recover with a generous flush of new growth in spring.

Get Tidy with Trenched Beds

Winter is a great time to recut the edge of garden beds to keep grass at bay during the upcoming growing season. Use a straight-blade shovel to make a three-inch deep trench by slicing into the earth at a 45-degree angle from each side. The defined edge will not only keep plants in their allotted spaces, it will also give the garden a tidy look.

Visit a Public Garden with a Friend

Take a friend to a botanical garden or an arboretum, especially someone who might not be able to get there on their own. Winter is a particularly good time, as you're sure to discover an amazing plant or two that is overshadowed by more flamboyant offerings in the growing season.

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