January in the Cape Cod Garden

January in the Cape Cod Garden

For many people, winter is a blessing and a curse. We may not relish dealing with snow and ice, but it can be a relief not to deal with mowing the grass, watering a flowerbed or pulling up weeds. Some enjoy the look of snow on shrubs or flowering Helebores while others find their idea of “winter interest” is a cup of tea and a good novel. But whether you love, hate, tolerate or ignore the month of January on Cape Cod, here are a few pointers for improving the season in the garden or with your indoor greenery.

  • Don’t worry about bulb foliage that is poking out of the ground right now. Many bulbs start to grow in the late fall or during the winter and being exposed to the cold, snow or ice doesn’t hurt them significantly. You don’t have to cover these green shoots up. Some get a little “winter worn” by April, but once they really start to grow and develop come spring this small amount of damage won’t be noticeable.
  • Winter can be a fine time to do some pruning. If the weather is conducive to getting outdoors you can cut back rose of Sharon, holly and yews. If you need to do some clipping on maples or birch trees, do it in January so that the cut areas will harden off before the sap starts to rise in these trees.
  • Ornamental grasses can be cut down anytime in January, February or March. Just be sure they get cut back well before they start to send up their new growth in April.
  • Check your houseplants more frequently once the temperatures are remaining below freezing. When the outside temperatures are colder your heating comes on more frequently, and this dries houseplants more quickly. Feel the surface of the soil, and look to see if it has pulled away from the insides of the pot which is another sign of dryness.
  • If you’ve taken photos of your garden in the summer, this month is a good time to review them. Seeing how your garden and yard looked during the growing season reminds us that warm weather will come again! And this is the perfect time to evaluate what you loved and what needed improving in your landscape. If there were annuals, perennials, or vegetables you grew that you want to be sure to plant again, start a “Must Have!” list for next spring. Should you have a photo of a favored plant in your Cape Cod garden but you’ve forgotten its name, send us a photo and we’ll identify it for you.
  • Put a heater in your birdbath. This will draw birds to your property all winter long, and you can enjoy their comings and goings. Be sure to change the water in a winter birdbath frequently.
Don't worry about those green daffodils or grape hyacinths that are visible now...they won't be significantly harmed by the colder temperatures.
Don’t worry about those green daffodils or grape hyacinths that are visible now…they won’t be significantly harmed by the colder temperatures.

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