Gardeners have really enjoyed the great bloom show from our spring flowering bulbs in the past few weeks. No matter how bad the winter weather seems to get or how late we have a frost or snow, spring bulbs always seem to pull through for us.

January begins the annual flight of vegetable, flower, and fruit tree catalogs to your mailbox (or your email inbox). Depending on your level of gardening, the catalogs may arrive frequently and in mass.

Everyone recognizes that 2020 has been quite a unique year. Travel has been limited or off the table, school or work may have been moved to home, and since spring, holidays have been celebrated in different ways. One big stress reliever in all of this may just have been the backyard garden and the home landscape.

pumpkins and mums

What a great time of year – crisp mornings, warming up to comfortable afternoons, with the opportunity to have that outdoor firepit going after dark.

October also signals the annual trip to a farm or farm stand for fall outdoor decorations including pumpkins, mums, flint corn with or without stalks, and an array of colorful gourds in weird shapes and textures.

By mid-June, the spring gardens have either slowed or have finished providing us with all those great colorful flowers, from daffodils to peonies to iris. The same goes for many of our flowering shrubs and trees. Our lawns, with all the rain, are for the most part actively growing and green, but there are some lawns that are beginning to show signs of slowing down for summer.

red roses

Whether you receive or give a gift of cut flowers, it is nice to know how to make them last. A few simple steps will keep your Valentine’s Day blooms fresher, longer.

Clean Start

Pick your vase based on the size of the bouquet and be sure to remove any debris from previous arrangements and thoroughly clean the inside of the vase. This prevents the water from quickly being contaminated, which jeopardizes the health and longevity of your cut flowers.

We have had our first real taste of cold weather over the last few days. Maybe your tender plants escaped being damaged, but others were not so lucky with the forecasted temperatures in outlying areas of low 30s and even high 20s.

Our weather pattern continues to be a bit different this year, and it may not be too early to consider the start of fall garden clean up. If you have planted tropical plants out in the yard or in planters, they may be showing the effects of cooler nights, and perennials in the flower gardens and vegetables that like warmer weather are slowing down.

Fall is for more than planting trees (although it is true that fall is a great time for that – see more below). Fall also is the time to do so many activities in the home landscape. These are not just weekend activities, but things that can be done in small bites, even on weekday evenings.