Thursday, January 6, 2011

This Week in the Garden

One of the practices I've developed over the years is the continual use of a "garden calendar" that I've developed over time, which includes the plants in the gardens at the Big House, as well as those in the Stepchild Garden.  Whenever I purchase or install a new plant, I take the time to Google its recommended maintenance schedule for this particular zone, and add those notes into the schedule.  This information is merged with thoughts from local gardeners, experts about particular plant species, etc.  I've found that it's the only way I'm able to keep up with some things that need doing, and over the past few years, it has made a marked difference in the success I've had with particular plants.

As a result, I'm going to start posting "This Week in the Garden" on a weekly basis.  If you're in this same zone (7B to 8, depending upon who you ask), feel free to take any of these things for your own calendar.  If not, take what's helpful, and use it to help yourself develop your own schedule.  The other added bonus is that this list prompts me to visit some out of the way spots in the garden that I don't always pay enough attention to, catching bugs and such before they become a problem.

January Pruning:  Abelia, Bottlebrush Buckeye, Vitex, Clethra, Confederate Rose, arborescens Hydrangeas, Hypericum, Oakleaf Hydrangeas, Gardenia, Osmanthus, Pyracantha*,  Agarista, Arborvitae, Boxwoods, Evergreen Hollies, Crape Myrtles, Figs can be pruned hard in January
Fertilize:  Pansies every two weeks (temps must be below 60 degrees F) with pansy fertilizer, Liquid 10-10-10 on bulbs once two inches of foliage is visible
Miscellaneous: Spray Dormant Oil on Branches of Fruit Trees to Suffocate Dormant Insects

Now, before you get all worked up about this (as only gardeners can), please remember that this is what I do, and it may not be applicable to your particular garden.  A couple of notes, as well....if the pyracantha looks really good and is still covered with berries, I won't prune it until February.Similarly, most of these things listed are fine getting pruned in January or February; with the number of plants I need to prune by hand, and the number of daylight hours in the winter, I need to start now or I'd never get done!


  1. I planned, when I came to this garden, to keep a record of everything. Well, I started a blog, but that is it. Maybe it isn't too late to start.

  2. We don't get that pbs show. Make dvds and I buy one!

  3. Tim,

    I'm curious about how you actually maintain this calendar, practically speaking. Is this a running list of tasks in a word document or have you actually used some calendaring software to organize it.

    I've been wanting to start something like this for my own garden and have been indecisive about how best to organize it. Flipping through my huge spiral notebook to catch notes from years' past is certain an imperfect process!

  4. Great idea! I'm horrid at you have any suggestions for pruning Arborvitae...I "inherited" one that is by my front walkway and is getting a bit too big for it's spot. In the past, it's been pruned into a ball shape, which I'm not overly-fond of

  5. Hey Scott! I had always been told conifers couldn't be pruned, and would't recover. I can tell you from experience that we regularly reshape the "gold mop" type, and they recover just fine. The issue with arborvitae is that you'll always have a bald spot where a branch is removed. I don't know the type of arborvitae you have, but have you considered some of the bonsai shapes (just in a larger size)? Could certainly be interesting.....