Middle South

December, 2000
Regional Report

Start a Calendar


Do you have an extra wall calendar for the new year? Use it to record planting dates and other garden notes, such as when your bulbs and perennials emerge and how you fertilize your lawn. Also note bloom times in your flower garden and maturity times for your favorite vegetables. It will help you plan future gardens and organize your gardening chores.

Refine Your Design


If you have problem spots in your landscape, spend some indoor time now considering design solutions that might help. While your landscape is bare, come up with cures for muddy pathways, overgrown shrubs, or corners of your lawn that are awkward to mow or riddled with weeds. Research books and Web sites for ideas that will solve these problems.

Clean Up Brambles


Your raspberries and cultivated blackberries are resting now, but not for long. Prune out old canes that escaped your attention before, pull weeds, and blanket the ground with 2-inch layer of compost topped by a mulch of clean wheat straw. Spoil your brambles now, and they'll treat you in spring and summer.

Divide Phlox


If you want to cover some ground with creeping phlox (Phlox subulata), don't be afraid to lift small rooted chunks and transplant them to new locations. As a safety precaution, cover the transplanted pieces with milk carton cloches. They will quickly take root and bloom right on time in the spring.

Check Old Seeds

Get out your half-used seed packets and decide what to keep and what to throw away. To check the germination of old seed, wrap a dozen in a damp paper towel and enclose it in a sandwich bag. Kept in a warm place, viable seeds should show signs of life within 5 days. If germination is below 80%, consider buying fresh seeds.

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