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    Eley Watering Systems — Seasonal Tips

    Make Your Garden Pop, Even in the Winter

    It’s the cold winter months, and you’re looking out the window at your once vibrant and colorful garden only to see patches of brown twigs and barren ground. UGH. You think to yourself...well it’s winter season, there’s nothing I can do this time of year to make it more appealing. While the idea of enjoying a charming winter garden seems unlikely, a garden in winter is not only possible, but it can be stunningly beautiful as well! During the winter you’ll want to highlight the key features of your garden and play into the shapes, textures, colors, and contrasts that make your seemingly dormant garden POP with interest! We’ve listed ways to preserve your garden’s allurement and keep you smiling throughout the long winter season. 

    Foliage, Evergreens, & Bark Interest 

    All gardeners are aware that one of the most dramatic changes to your garden comes when the trees lose their leaves, and other flowering bulbs and plants have faded. However, this means your garden should take on another look with impressive foliage in shades of yellow, orange, red, and purple. Foliage can provide color, fragrance, and various textures and shapes that can play an important role in your winter garden. 

    Trees and shrubs are common elements in fall gardens due to their dazzling foliage or late blooms; however, they can also give interest during the winter. Evergreens are a great enhancement to any winter garden as they provide not only texture and height, but also a feeling of holiday cheer when gazing upon them. Evergreen is a plant that has leaves throughout the year and is always green. And with a blanket of snow, these green trees and shrubs become a fortress of white spires and battlements. Here is a list of some of the best evergreen plants to include in your winter garden design:winter evergreen tree

    • Boxwood
    • Liriope
    • Periwinkle
    • Rhododendron
    • Juniper
    • Yucca
    • Azaleas
    • Mountain Laurel

    witch hazel

     

     

    Another favorite among gardeners looking for winter color and fragrance is witch hazel. Many people grow this shrub in a location where they can enjoy not only its beauty but also its sweet aroma that actually becomes more potent in the winter. Another plus is they're virtually maintenance-free and resistant to most pests and diseases. Most species of witch hazel have yellow or red blooms.

     

    birch trees in winter garden

    When choosing trees and shrubs, you should also pay attention to the unique characteristics offered by their exfoliating bark. The bark that peels or is patterned with intriguing twig color can be rather captivating during those dreary winter days. River birch, whitebark birch, and paperback maples give interest with their peeling bark. If you’re looking for colored bark, the red-twig dogwoods and mahogany-colored crabapples deliver an additional splash of color to your winter garden. 

    Berries, Seed Heads, & Ornamental Grasses

    holly

     

    Although the majority of flowers may be seldom during winter, their berries are often plentiful. Berries give color and interest with shades of red, purple, and yellow. One noteworthy and well-known holiday plant is the holly, which is rich with berries and their spiky leaves add interest to the landscape. Many viburnums keep their berries throughout the early winter. Hawthorns have beautiful flowers in the spring and fruit in the winter (which are edible and attract birds). This shrub also has thorns that catch snow on their twiggy outlines, which draws attention to the observer’s eye. 


    snow on seed head

    Seed heads from the existing flowers in warmer months will also add to your winter garden. Flowers that will keep their seed heads include hydrangeas, sedums, rudbeckias, and coneflowers. They hold their seed heads throughout the winter, which adds a bit of contrast and collects pillows of snow to create little dots of interest in your garden. 

    Flowering ornamental grasses also provide structure, texture, volume, and color when growing a winter garden. Cool-season ornamental grasses take over once fall-blooming has creased, and many remain evergreen during the winter. These may include the northern sea oats, fescues, tufted hairgrass, and moor grass. 

    Winter Accents 

    snowy arborWinter garden plants do offer exceptional beauty during the bitterly cold months which may suffice for some gardeners. Although, adding garden accessories such as benches, fountains, arbors, and statues will draw attention from the onlooker and will give the garden key features which to recall. These accents should be weather-resistant and make strong statements. However, with any strong statement piece, you must use these sparingly to avoid a cluttered appearance. 


    Outside lights such as Christmas lights, spotlights, lanterns, etc. in the landscape can offer further enjoyment while highlighting focal points. 

    Now that you know what can be grown in your garden over the winter, you can get started with designing and planting a winter garden that fits your needs, climate, and landscape. Gone are the days of feeling the winter blues and being deprived of your garden. A winter garden can be filled with interesting features that can make any guest feel like they’re walking through a winter wonderland. If you need more inspiration for your winter garden, check out the following link where Laura from Garden Answer gives us a tour of her gorgeous winter garden!

    Is Your Yard Ready for Spring? - Here's Your March Checklist

    Yes, we know that snow is still falling on parts of the country. However, the first day of Spring is only 4 days away and it's not too early to start making plans for a healthy, lush yard for the year.  Here are five tips to help you get you started.

    Yard Clean UpTip #1 - Clean up any debris.  Rake and mow to pick up any leftover leaves on your grass and in your plant beds.  They need proper sunlight, air, and water to help them grow.  I also don’t like to wait too long in my flower beds to start cleaning especially regarding my Hosta’s.  If I wait too long, I can damage their delicate foliage with my rake.

     

    lawnmowerTip #2 - Mow your yard. This will help to the stimulate the root system.  Raking does the same. Mow short to reduce any weed growth now… but raise your blade during the summer so it helps shade the roots when the summer heat kicks in. 

     

     

    dethatching rakeTip #3 - Dethatch.  Over time little pieces of grass die and gather above the soil.  Some are fine because it breaks down by microbes in the soil but if it builds up too fast, the natural process to break it down prevents moisture and air from reaching the grass.  If you have a ½” or more, it can weaken your lawn.  Using a rake (for small areas) or a dethatching machine works well.  You can rent one at a hardware or big box store for $50 for 4 hours or $70 for all day.  I don’t detach every year; only when I see that it has gotten too thick.

        

     

    yard aerationTip #4 - Aerate.  An aeration machine, which you can rent from hardware stores or home centers, pulls plugs out of the soil. These plugs are left to break down into the lawn.  Aerating is considered a great method to help water and air reach the roots of your grass.  I don’t necessarily dethach every year, but I do like to aerate twice a year, in the Spring and Fall.  How often you need to aerate will depend on your soil type.

     

    fertilize yardTip #5 - Apply Crabgrass Preventer/Fertilizer.  Once you have gotten the grass and soil prepared, you will need to put down some crabgrass prevention that also includes fertilizer. Before the weather turns warm and soil temps reach above 55°F, the weed seeds start sprouting.   Using your premium-quality Eley garden hose and watering tools, (of course), be sure to water in thoroughly.  Once this is done, do not disturb the top of the soil or it negates the weed barrier that the crabgrass prevention has created after being watered in.  Of course, if you plan on reseeding or overseeding your grass, you'll want to skip this step.  If the crabgrass preventer stops weed seeds, it will also stop grass seeds from sprouting. This is why grass seeding is usually recommended as a Fall activity.  

    So, in summary, rake, detach, clean up, aerate, and apply crabgrass preventer that contains fertilizer.  Somewhere in there, you might have to overseed or reseed if your yard has sparse grass.   If someone comes back and uses a rake after you put your preventer down, you will need to retreat.  Do these 5 steps and you'll be off to a great start of a healthy green lawn this year.  

    Here are some video links I found that shows how to green up a sparse yard.  

    By Penny Green    How to properly Thatch / Aerate / Seed your lawn

    By This Old House  How to Fix a Patchy, Weedy Lawn      How to Revive a Brown Lawn

     

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