Nov. 2013 To-Do List: New England

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bulbs-in-basket-300x200Although it’s better to plant bulbs in early fall, there’s still time to plant daffodils and other bulbs, at least until the ground freezes. Beautiful daffodils, which are in the genus Narcissus, are long-lived and resistant to deer and insect pests. Gently toss the bulbs over the ground and dig them in wherever they fall for natural-looking drifts of flowers next spring. ‘Ice Follies’ is a selection with gorgeous white and yellow blooms. For bulbs that will naturalize, or return and multiply over the years, try Emperor Tulips, snowdrops (Galanthus nivalis), and Siberian squill (Scilla siberica). Add grape hyacinths to your plantings for pops of lavender-blue. Be creative and layer the bulbs, planting large ones first, then medium-sized bulbs, then smaller ones on top.

  • If your clay pots are encrusted with minerals, soak them in water for a few hours, and scrub them, if needed, with steel wool and dish soap. Rinse well and allow to air dry.
  • We hope you’re following our series on stretch gardening, so you dried and preserved some flowers and foliage from your yard to make into holiday gifts and decor. If you didn’t, no worries. You can substitute commercially dried or silk flowers. Look through our projects and start soon to get a jump on the season.
  • Clay and ceramic pots can crack in cold weather. Store them in a location that stays above freezing.
  • Mulch perennial beds with shredded leaves, bark, straw, or evergreen boughs. Hay bales can contain weed seeds, so be cautious about using them.
  • Unless you simply want a tidy garden, let the foliage remain on your perennials. It will catch snow and leaves and help protect them until warmer weather returns.
  • Winterize your tools, and take power tools in for repair now to avoid the rush next spring. Use up fuel from the lawn mower, or pour an additive into the tank to keep moisture from contaminating the fuel.
  • Coat wooden handles of hand tools, rakes, and shovels with one part linseed oil to one part turpentine to help them last longer. Sharpen blades on lawn mowers, hoes, and other cutting tools.
  • Do you plan to buy a living Christmas tree? Dig the hole before the ground freezes, and cover the hole with a board so no one takes a fall. Keep your tree indoors no more than 3 to 5 days to prevent it from breaking dormancy.
  • Rake and clean up fallen fruits from underneath trees.
  • If storms leave broken tree branches, trim back the ragged edges until you have a smooth border of healthy tissue. If you’re pruning branches, don’t seal the cuts. Sealant doesn’t promote healing and can lead to decay.
  • If you haven’t already done so, spread compost over the garden bed, along with shredded leaves raked from the lawn. Then start a new compost pile.
  • Save the dried seeds from black-eyed Susans to sow. Leave some dried seed heads on coneflowers and ornamental grasses. Hungry birds will appreciate them when natural food supplies dwindle.
  • Drain and store garden hoses and sprinklers. Use an air compressor to blow out water standing in the lines of your irrigation system.
  • Wait until next season to prune boxwoods and roses. Pruning now would stimulate new, tender growth that would be damaged in freezing weather.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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