Hard Pruning Isn't a Pretty Sight

It is that time of year to start the task of hard pruning. Hard pruning is cutting (not whacking) back certain plant material that may be overgrown or needs reshaping. More times than not, this plant material will not look pretty when the process is completed. When shrubs go through a hard pruning, the branches are exposed and it looks like the plant was "whacked" down or had an unfortunate meeting with hedge trimmers. BE PATIENT AND CALM! The plant material will recover and grow in and be beautiful in no time.

Your Winter Garden

front 2The finest gardens are those that make an attractive appearance throughout all the seasons. With forethought and assistance in planning, your winter landscape can be as interesting in dormancy as in mid-season. And observing the quiet beauty of winter in the landscape helps us appreciate all the goodness nature has to offer.

After working hard to maintain the vitality of our lawns and landscapes all summer, it’s easy to put away our interest in outdoor details about the same time we stow the garden tools. But whether we notice or not, winter forms, textures and colors are giving our outdoors a special kind of attraction.

Landscape plans should always take into account how the plantings will appear in winter. Using a variety of shapes and textures will add a multi-seasonal interest that you’ll enjoy more and more as the seasons pass.

Evergreens of all sorts really come into their own as the flashier plants lose their foliage. Few can compare with the majesty of a mature spruce or the grace of a white pine. Use evergreens as a backdrop against which to accent other species. Though they offer a certain constancy in their colors and shapes, there is still a vast selection. From 6-inch high creeping junipers to 40-foot arborvitae; from shades of green through silvery blues to the deep violets—evergreens offer variety.

Brightly-colored berries are another great addition to any “off season” garden. Hollies may be the best known berry producers with their deep glossy leaves and bright red fruit so favored for decorations during holidays, but also consider barberries, pyracantha, and cotoneaster, all of which are popular broadleaf evergreens which produce berries.

Some of the spring flowering trees have already set their flower buds for next year adding an additional feature to the outline of the landscape. White dogwoods have unusually large buds that are visible even from a distance.

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Keep the Season Lively with Color

IMG 4177editedLate fall and winter are great times to bring out dramatic contrasts in your landscape that are perfect for the holidays. The blue-greens of evergreens, bright berries of hollies and other plants, and crimson, gold and purple tones create a festival look that is more subtle than the brighter colors of mid-season. Best of all, many of the highlights of your winter landscape can be brought indoors to further brighten the holidays.

Outside, evergreens form a foundation of greenery, but conifers can also lend colors from bronze and purple to gold and red. Unique shapes and barks on trees like the river birch and paperbark maple also add interest.Try using the same pots and containers you filled with summer flowers to plant ornamental cabbages and kales, perennials like flax lily or ivies. You can even fill window boxes with branches from evergreens, including those from your own real Christmas tree after the holiday.Of course, you can always bring a little of the beauty of the outdoors inside with ideas as simple as pine cones in a decorative basket. Try creating a festive, natural centerpiece using evergreen branches and pine cones with a few dried flowers or even fresh fruits added. Cut branches right before they’re needed for a fresh look and smell. You can keep branches stored in a dark plastic bag until you’re ready for them.Of course, wreaths using vines, evergreen branches, or pine cones will look wonderful during the holiday or any time of year. Pine cones, berries and even flowers dried or pressed from earlier in the year can make wonderful, natural-looking ornaments. Or try adding a little evergreen or pine cones to gift wrapping or decorative candles for a festive look.This year, bring the holidays to life indoors and out with nature and a little imagination!

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