New England

January, 2012
Regional Report

Check on Stored Bulbs

If you dug and stored cannas, dahlias, caladiums, or gladiolus, check on them periodically over the winter. Remove any that are beginning to rot. If dahlia tubers are beginning to shrivel, add just a little bit of water to the material they are packed in.

Start Making and Pruning Lists of Seeds and Plants

As the new year's catalogs arrive in the mail and are posted on-line, start compiling lists of things you'd like to purchase. And then, if you're like me, you'll need to go back a few times with your "pruners" and trim the list to a more manageable size. I start out including everything that strikes my fancy, then gradually trim the list to fit my budget and actual needs.

Keep Indoor Cacti Cool and Dry

Winter is a resting time for most cacti, so be sure not to overwater these houseplants. Give them just enough water to keep them from shriveling. Set them in a cool, bright spot, ideally where daytime temperatures are no higher than the mid-60s and nighttime temperatures fall below 60 degrees F.

Clean Clay Pots

Winter is a great time to catch up with garden housekeeping chores like pot cleaning. If your clay pots are encrusted with white salts, soak them overnight in a solution of one cup white vinegar in a gallon of water, then scrub with a steel wool pad if necessary.

Plan for Color in the Winter Landscape

Midwinter can be a pretty bleak time in the outdoor garden in New England. So take some time to look over your landscape and see where you can add some color from brightly-stemmed shrubby dogwoods (Cornus) and willows (Salix). Some with the most vivid hues are Cornus sanguinea 'Midwinter Fire' with stems that are yellow at the base, changing to orange and finally red at the tips; Cornus 'Arctic Sun' with yellow stems with deep red tips on a compact plant; and coral bark willow, Salix alba 'Britzensis' with bright coral-red stems.

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