by Claudia Larsen
Winter is a wonderful time to evaluate your garden. It’s a time to ask yourself: “How has my garden changed through the seasons and what can I do to prepare it for spring?” Some other questions to ponder while your garden senesces include:
- How do I envision my garden in all seasons?
- Is garden maintenance suited to my time and strengths?
- Do I want to make my garden larger or smaller?
- Do I need more plant diversity?
- Do I want to add more pollinator host and nectar plants?
If your garden is too large:
- Widen pathways or mulch an area for a garden bench.
- Convert garden areas by using larger size plants that require less maintenance — there are many native herbaceous or evergreen shrubs to fit a variety of sites.
If your garden is too small:
- Add a trellis or an arbor for vines — great vines are passionvine, coral honeysuckle, Carolina jessamine, trumpet vine.
- Use large containers and plant a mixture of grasses and flowers.
- Use large hanging baskets to display short or trailing plants.
- Add a raised bed: Garden supply stores and Internet retailers carry plastic or metal corner posts that conveniently convert 6- or 8-inch boards into a planting bed.
Winter garden jobs:
- Mulch borders and pathways.
- If you sowed wildflower seeds in the fall, be sure and water every seven to 10 days during periods without rain.
- Check for and control invasive plants. For a primer on Florida invasives, visit floridainvasivespecies.org.
- Observe birds that may forage in your garden on dry seed heads or seeds that have fallen. What flower seeds do they prefer?
- Check vines and shrubs for birds’ nests, and watch the eggs to check their hatching process.
- Fix irrigation leaks, and consider changing any overhead irrigation to micro irrigation lines or spray stakes.
- Buy a calendar and dedicate it to documenting wildflowers in bloom.
Thinking about adding plants to the mix? We have many resources to help you select the right plant for your landscape, including 20 Easy-to-Grow Wildflowers, Attracting Butterflies, Attracting Birds, Attracting Bees and Other Beneficial Insects, our comprehensive plant selection guide, and more.
Visit www.PlantRealFlorida.org for a list of what’s available from a native nursery near you.
Claudia Larsen is the owner of Micanopy Wildflowers, a native nursery specializing in Florida native wildflowers.