From the Sperry Garden – December, 2008

This hasn’t exactly been a week for outdoor activities in our part of Texas. The first parts of the week got colder than most forecasters expected, and the cold and wet weather hung around longer.

My photo, taken along the county road and our driveway, shows a sampling of our eastern redcedar/pecan forest. My reason for including it was to show you what a delightful large screening plant the redcedars are. They’re inexpensive, adapted, quick and attractive.

But, on to meditations of winter. This is a cozy time. Here are some of the things I accomplish during the "down" time of winter.

• Clean the garage from all the projects of summer. Some are horticultural, some are not. From the former, my tools are cleaned and sharpened, and the power equipment, where needed, is in for repairs.

• Note the plans for next year’s landscaping changes. I’m working on plans for a couple of projects that have been rolling around in my head for several years. I have more ability to focus on them this time of the year.

• Work the soil for late-winter plantings. This applies to vegetable gardens, and it also goes for flowerbeds. By tilling the soil now and working in several types of organic matter, the ground will have a couple of months to "mellow" and blend. I’ll retill a day or two before the spring plantings.

• Pick leaves up off the lawn. I shred lots of them, but the huge masses that fell a month or so ago are composting. If they’re left in place on the lawn, they promote turf diseases, and they just don’t look very good.

• Search the web on those long winter evenings. Allow your fingers to drag you through the wealth of information on the Internet. You’ll find plant societies for all of your favorites, as well as unusual sources you never knew about. As example, you’d be amazed at what eBay offers, just to name one. I’ve bought some stunning succulents in the past several months. Many of the growers ship them with heat-packs to ensure safe delivery even in winter.

• Sort and process photos of the past year. They always seem to back up on me until the desktop is filled and overflowing. Some are photos I’ll want to convert into prints for note cards or wall frames. Winter is my time to catch up.

Posted by Neil Sperry
Back To Top