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Tuesday, January 12, 2010
Top Tips to Bring Spring to Your Garden

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By Kristin Masters

Many gardeners view winter as a time of waiting. Few plants thrive in the winter and it can be difficult to place new landscaping if the ground is frozen. Yet the enthusiastic gardener can bring warmth and beauty to the yard year-round with hardy plants and warming accessories.Gardening Tips for Winter

Winter-Friendly Landscaping

While flowers are a beautiful addition to any garden, they usually do not withstand extreme cold. Instead, gardeners can select plants that offer other kinds of beauty from interesting textures and colors. Winter plants may have unusual bark or brightly colored berries.

  • Evergreen trees, shrubs, and groundcover grow year round. They also provide wind cover for more delicate plants.

  • Choose a sunny spot for ornamental plants. Pansies do well, so long as they get lots of light and warmth.

  • Bulbs are an excellent option because they can be planted any time and bloom every year during late winter.

  • Grasses maintain structure and grow well in the cold. Blue oat grass and blue fescue bring a dash of color to the garden.

  • Vines bring a sculptural element to the garden. Trailing wisteria or ivy over an arbor or up a balcony add visual interest and depth to the garden.

  • Raised beds and containers make it easier to protect plants from sudden cold snaps and to fend off insects or fungus.

Adding the Finishing Touches

In any established garden, the plants make up only half the equation. Accessories and other features bring life and energy to the garden, while winter-busting accessories make outdoor spaces welcoming to birds and humans alike.

  • An outdoor fire pit brings warmth to a patio or lanai area. Keep everyone toasty during winter picnics or roast marshmallows in the backyard any time.

  • Ponds can freeze over in the winter, killing fish and water plants. Furthermore, freezing water can burst the pipes of fountains and aerators. A floating pond de-icer remedies both problems.

  • Keep feathered friends happy with a weather-proof bird feeder that will stand up to the elements and a heated birdbath. Birds count on steady food and water sources in the winter, so it is important to continue providing both.

  • Be sure that the pool filter is set to start automatically when the water temperature drops too low. The movement will keep water from freezing in the pipes if the temperature plummets.

  • To ensure that plants don’t get shocked with a blast of cold water (and to save your hose from ice), use a heated garden hose.

Despite the inclement conditions of wintertime, avid gardeners can continue to nurture their landscaping. Choosing the right plants and adding weather-specific accessories keeps gardens healthy and welcoming year round.

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