Fragrant hyacinths are an indoor treat in winter. Barely cover the bulbs with potting soil, dampen them, and move the pots to an unheated garage (out of the reach of mice) for a winter chilling period. Bring them indoors just as the Christmas decorations are due to be returned to storage, and enjoy the January flower show.
Cut Back Mums
Once the chrysanthemum blooms turn brown, cut back the plants that are well established as perennials in your garden, leaving behind 4-inch stubs. Throw a 2- to 3-inch layer of pine straw or loose bark mulch over the plants to protect little shoots that emerge early from winter's cold weather.
Care for Kalanchoe
Bring kalanchoe plants indoors and keep them in a bright windowsill. The plants will quickly get busy producing clusters of buds. Feed every two weeks with a liquid fertilizer, and you'll have a strong display of flowers by February.
The second half of November is the perfect time to plant tulip bulbs in our region. Consider interplanting tulips with mini-pansies; plant groups of five tulip bulbs, spaced 3 inches apart, about 5 inches deep, with mini-pansies between groups. It'll be quite a colorful combination come spring.
Set Out Evergreens
Boxwoods, junipers, and other hardy evergreen shrubs planted now will benefit from winter rains and be well rooted by summer. However, you'll need to water the plants very well at planting time, and be prepared to water them regularly if the dry weather continues. Prepare very wide planting holes (at least twice the diameter of the rootball), amended with 4 inches of organic matter only if the soil is very poor. Be sure to plant shrubs at the same depth they grew in their containers.