By Claudia Larsen
Winter is a wonderful time for garden evaluation. Questions to ponder:
- How did my garden change from spring to fall?
- How do I envision my garden in all seasons?
- Is garden maintenance suited to my time and strengths?
- Do I want 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.
|Look for signs of wildlife in your garden|
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 this 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 www.fleppc.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 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 2011 calendar and dedicate it to documenting wildflowers in bloom.
Thinking about adding plants to the mix? Visit www.afnn.org for a list of what's available from a native nursery near you. For more on wildflower gardening, visit the Foundation’s planting Web page, flawildflowers.org/planting.php.
Claudia Larsen’s wildflower garden is at her Micanopy home, where she grows many Central Florida wildflowers.