To some, gardening can be a chore. Others revel in the solitude, and the joy of using their hands to grow something beautiful from soil. Regardless of which camp you fall in, there are outdoor chores that everyone should plan on doing, as well as indoor options, if you want to keep your garden Zen on in the winter.
When it comes to the yard outside, that frozen tundra shouldn't be ignored just because it's January.
Rich Robinson, owner of Robinson’s Home and Garden & the Basket Loft, said if you have perennials, the frozen ground announces the time for cutting off the dead tops and pruning them back. As for roses, he said, they need to freeze -- and stay frozen.
The goal, he said, is to keep roses dormant so that any thaw will not start them growing too early. Straw, which is available for purchase at Robinson’s Sewickley-based garden center on Blackburn Avenue, is the best choice to cover frozen rose bushes, Robinson said. Leaves can be used as well.
Mike Cyrilla, owner of Moon Township-based Cyrilla Landscaping and Supply, said it's also important to stake any bush or small tree more than 3 feet tall. The Pittsburgh region is susceptible to having large amounts of snowfall in short periods of time. Heavy snow can stress or fracture smaller shrubbery, Cyrilla said.
Cyrilla recommends having a decent percentage of your landscape derived from the evergreen family. Boxwoods and holly, for instance, will remain green, maintenance-free and beautiful all year long.
Crazy weather shifts are the norm rather than the exception around here. So on those random two or three consecutive days of above-freezing temperatures, Robinson reminds us to water any outdoor plants. If the ground is not frozen, lime (also available at Robinson’s) should be spread to “sweeten” soil, or balance the pH, since local soil is typically acidic.
As for plants in the house, poinsettias can thrive beyond the holiday season.
If your poinsettia made it through to the New Year, chances are it will continue to thrive another year with proper care. A quick Internet search will yield results on proper care, but the main goal should be to keep the soil moist and the plant away from any drafts. When nighttime temperatures rise above 55 degrees, the plant will need further care, such as pruning and taking it outside overnight.
Gardening in the kitchen is also a fun option. Seed delivery comes to Robinson’s in January. To grow kitchen plants, simply find a nice indoor planter and a great growing spot in the kitchen. Be sure to cultivate herbs such as basil, parsley and rosemary for cooking or just to keep your home full of life and your fingers dipped in the soil.