By: David Zimmerman
What is your vision for your outdoor space this year? Have you thought about it? As no year in the garden is ever the same as years gone by, here are some considerations to mull over while making those important pre-season decisions.
Resolution 1 : Triple P ( Prepare for Prevention of Pests )
Deer, insects, rodents, weeds – it does not matter what climate you live in – these are problems you will be faced with in maintaining the appearance and health of your outdoor space in the coming year, as they are every year.
Yes – the cold season can be harsh, but here in the Maryland, Virginia, DC Area, it can hail and sleet on one day and then be sixty degrees and sunny on the next. Here at Planted Earth, we keep tabs on the weather and take advantage of those warm pockets in the winter calendar. Root structure of ambitious cool season weeds are shocked by sessions of harsh weather and if the ground is thawed by morning – those young weeds pop right out. Getting a jump on the weeds now will ensure getting them out before seeding – ergo greatly diminishing the amount of weeds to deal with in subsequent seasons.
If there is a yard, there are rabbits and deer to some degree.These common predators of gardens are joined by their accomplices – foxes, groundhogs, rodents and the like. The combined appetites of this gaggle of woodland animals is enough to leave a cultivated landscape barren, given the right circumstances and lack of preventative measures.
Fences are the very obvious answer, but perhaps you do not want to obstruct or divide the appearance of your vistas. Planted Earth gardeners use highly effective organic all-purpose repellents which can prevent feeding for up to two weeks following the application. This is an important phase of our early season maintenance to keep spring gardens fresh.
Bugs and the diseases they carry are a bit of a niche aspect of the garden. The taxonomy of the various insects and viruses dwarfs that of the plants they afflict! There are so many variables in dealing with insects that the mind of the busy homeowner may boggle at attempting to handle any given situation on their own. This is where the training and experience of a seasoned Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Technician comes in. An initial survey conducted by an IPM specialist will preemptively reveal afflictions on plants. During the dormancy of winter, creating a prevention plan before spring will ensure the longevity and fertility of the garden in the future.
Resolution 2 : Water Wisely
Water is a precious resource. Observing how it flows and how it may affect the landscape, the infrastructure of the home, or the greater ecology of the hydraulic cycles of an area at large, are all usually afterthoughts when considering the maintenance of a property – usually after a problem has occurred. Too wet, and you get root rot – too dry and plants don’t get substantial nutrients. Water in the day, fungus may develop on foliage, water in the night the plants might dry out during peak sunlight. It’s a tricky business and a bit of a balancing act – but watering wisely will make or break a garden. Try taking a walk around your landscape the morning after a rain. Note the places where there is pooling and note the places that are surprisingly bone dry. As above, so below is an axiom applicable to plants – the balance of water and nutrients will reflect in their performance above ground. Also heed the complication that some plants will need more or less water than others.
If you find yourself discouraged by the task – considering consulting with an Irrigation Specialist. These technicians know which plants need how much water and for how long and when. Using this information, they can implement comprehensive irrigation systems which tie into your home’s water supply.
Resolution 3 : Plan a Project
Like any endeavor, staying goal oriented is bound to ensure the success of any project. Taking on some sort of improvement or change to your outdoor space every year will most certainly draw your attention to other areas in your garden. The newly altered portion of the landscape may contrast against areas that have been not been routinely maintained and may now have your attention on your outdoor space. Get creative and think about what would look nice. Maybe add some new planters around doors, walkways, stairs, or windows. Plan for the construction of a hardscape patio or implement new garden bed edging. Maybe you can begin a trellis of climbing plants or espalier a tree near a wall. The possibilities are endless and can really lead you to a new love for your outdoor space. Best of all, the new project will have you outside more often – which is really – the point of all of this. If you are unsure of what you might want to add, take a look at our Project Galleries to see if there is anything that inspires you. After getting an idea, give us a call or send us an email, and we can get you in contact with an architect who can share and enhance your vision for your property.
During the winter months, it is easy to neglect the garden. It is relatively bleak and colorless and the air is cold…its not fun to be outside right now. There is a silver lining, however. The plants are at a standstill so now you may have room to think about what can be done to make your outdoor space the best it has ever been. Keep those dreams of warm weather alive and let your imaginations of summer keep you warm through the winter. When you are ready to implement those New Year’s Resolutions for your landscape, feel free to give us a call!
Stay warm during this winter season. Best of luck to you and yours in this new year of 2020!