Your December Chore List (Don't Worry it's Short)

Before we head indoors for a long winter's nap, let's do a final lap around the yard. It never hurts to double check. 

Pepper and Duke enjoying a Christmas nap. (German Shorthair Pointers, owner and picture taker, Anna Ridgeway.)

  1. Are the hoses drained and stored away? If not, now is the time. Be sure to turn off outdoor water faucets too, and cover for winter.
  2. How about the leaves? Many of my leaves held on through November into early December which required 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? 
  3. Any forgotten containers that need to go inside? How do you know which ones? Brenna Henley, our container designer, explains that the terra cotta, plastic and resin need to go indoors to avoid the freeze/thaw potential of cracking. The large ceramic pots can stay put so long as water is able to go through them, and drain away from them. Whether ceramic pots sit on the porch, patio or in the landscape, they need to be raised up at least 1/2" off the surface to allow water to drain away from the container.  DO NOT LEAVE POTS SITTING IN A SAUCER.  It's a sure-fire way to cause potential cracks in your containers since saucers collect water that can wick back up into the containers.
  4. Did all the bulbs get in the ground? (I found 3 packages in my car. Oops.) If not, plant now. If the soil is too hard, plant them in pots. I layer mine in containers, lasagna style, an easy way to keep bulbs blooming through spring. (Here's the video for how to make a bulb lasagna.)
  5. If you forgot and left your tropicals outside, well, you'll probably need new ones. This cold weather is too cold for tropicals, but remember indoor plants are great for combating indoor toxins. Read this to find out more about that, and FYI, we have lots of new houseplants that need a home. 
  6. I'll say it again, and again, forget pruning now. Pruning is a late winter, early spring job, but 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. (Speaking from experience here.)
  7. Lastly, don't forget the birds. It's cold out there. They would appreciate a bird feeder full of bird seed. One of my favorites is 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. 
  8. If you didn't get your tools sharpened, a must in my garden, 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 inside for a cup of tea, and a stack of garden books. 

Cinthia Milner is the garden coach, blog writer, and sales staff for BB Barns Garden Center.

BB Barns Garden Center serves all of Western North Carolina, upstate South Carolina, and Tennessee.