Before we head indoors with our garden books and long winter's nap, let's do a final lap around the yard. It never hurts to double check--a quick once more. Then, you can grab your hot chocolate and head out to see the Christmas lights. (Or at least check them out on Instagram. Look under #christmastree. P.S. It's seriously worth it for the cat in the tree videos.)
- Are the hoses drained and stored away? If not, now is the time. Be sure to turn off outdoor water faucets and cover for winter.
- How about the leaves? Many of my leaves are still holding on, which requires a second go with the rake. Leaving a few won't kill the grass, leaving a layer will. Do you need one more quick raking? But don't give those leaves away. They're garden gold and the best natural resource you already have for the garden. For a how-to on using your leaves in the garden, click here.
- Any forgotten containers that need to go inside? How do you know which ones? Here's an entire blog written on the topic. All the answers to questions we forget to ask until it's time to ask them. If you're still itching to garden, here's a blog on designing winter containers. Go for it. Just don't forget to water those containers. It's never the cold that kills them, but the lack of watering.
- Did all the bulbs get in the ground? Most are pre-chilled, so you should be fine to plant them now. If you wait until Jan/Feb, you take a chance that they won't bloom due to lack of chilling hours. If the soil is too hard, plant them in pots. Layer them in containers, lasagna style, an easy way to keep bulbs blooming through spring. (Here's the video for how to make a bulb lasagna.)
- If you forgot and left your tropicals outside, it's time to shop for more. These cold nights are too cold for tropicals (when temperatures are consistently below 55 degrees, they have to come inside). Remember houseplants are great for combating indoor toxins. Read this to find out more about that, and FYI, we have a beautiful selection of houseplants if you're still gift shopping. (And who isn't?). Here's another blog on designing with houseplants the latest trend in gardening.
- If you're cutting greens for decorating, be sure your cuts are clean and don't leave limbs dangling. And, stay in your own yard unless you ask first. (That should be a given for most of us. Speaking from experience here.)
- Lastly, don't forget the birds. Baby, it's cold outside. They would appreciate a bird feeder full of bird seed. Try the Squirrel Buster, which keeps pesky squirrels away. Maybe a Christmas present? Here's some ideas on gardening for the birds, and taking care of the birds in winter.
- If you didn't sharpen your tools, don't fret. BB Barns offers this service in late winter. Check out our newsletter for details. If you don't get our newsletter, you can watch for it and other events on our website.
That covers it! Now, back indoors for a cup of cocoa and a stack of garden books, or maybe some well-earned rest. You did it. Another garden year come to a close.
Cinthia Milner is the garden coach and blog writer for BB Barns Garden Center.
BB Barns Garden Center serves all of Western North Carolina, upstate South Carolina, and Tennessee.