There was flurry of activity to finish the last fall chores before this cold frigid weather set in. New beds were prepared and mulched, more shrubs and perennials planted and bulbs set in the ground. Compost spread, a great bounty of leaves mulched and raked back into the beds, hoses and all garden accessories and tools put away for the winter… Phew! That certainly was a lot of work, which for us gardeners does not “feel” like work, of course. Instead, I felt toned and strong after hours in the sunny but cool fall air, watching as nature put out its last hurrah before the inevitable winter slumber.
Withdrawal, my friends, is far worse. I look outside now and feel that, in the space of a couple of weeks, we have been transported to a frigid inhospitable planet. Outside, a frozen landscape. the weather report is for several days of below freezing temperatures and several inches of snow…
It is an adjustment, but on the other hand, I now have more time to read, go thru the new offerings of magazines and catalogues and more importantly, plan new projects for the year ahead. Dream on!
“Winter is the time of promise because there is so little to do – or because you can now and then permit yourself the luxury of thinking so.” ~Stanley Crawford
It has been very dry in the last couple of months and therefore the challenge is to keep our plants alive. The little rain we did have was not enough to really penetrate the soil before most of it evaporated. Many clients and friends have called asking how to handle the watering. My recommendations always are:
Water your most valuable plants first, newly planted trees and shrubs need a weekly watering of at least 1 gallon per square foot of root zone per week. Perennials that are yet to be established are next in importance and last in the list of priority are annuals and grass. Grass tends to go dormant during hot dry spells, it looks yellow and brittle but rarely dies outright. It is up to you if you want to sacrifice larger beds of annuals, in lieu of random pots by your door and back patio.
Water each plant with a hose without a sprayer directly at the root of the plant, a slow drip works best, or lay soaker hoses around your border. Investing in soaker hoses in spring, then laying the mulch directly over the hose saves on time and water as you can deliver water were needed and the mulch prevents moisture from evaporating and helps keep the soil moist longer.
Water in the morning or evening The benefit of watering before it gets too warm is that the plant has the chance to hydrate before the sun is too hot and therefore more able to withstand hot sun. When watering in the evening I try to avoid getting the foliage wet to avoid decease.
It is certainly a challenge to survive this weather without loosing some of our valuable plants, if I do not get to the garden for anything else, watering is probably the most important chore to keep up. Good luck!
“Water is life’s mater and matrix, mother and medium. There is no life without water.” Albert Szent-Gyorgyi quotes (Hungarian Biochemist, 1937 Nobel Prize for Medicine, 1893–1986)