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Wash Journal   Fairfield Ledger
Neighbors Growing Together | Aug 21, 2018

January gardening work stays indoors (mostly)

Jan 18, 2018

By Jean Thomson

 

It still is winter, and therefore, still a good time for gardeners to dream and plan. However, that process may benefit from an occasional jump-start. Some day when the weather falls into the category of “normal winter,” head out for a brisk walk or a very slow drive around several residential blocks.

Note the standout landscape features that brighten winter vistas. You may spot small trees with attractive branching patterns or feathery, pale gold ornamental grasses. You might admire a stone wall that had seemingly been obscured by flowers blooming in other seasons. Just note what catches your eye and consider whether it’s a feature you could adapt to your own garden.

If so, snap a quick picture. As soon as possible, write down a brief description and note where you might incorporate this find into your garden. If nothing else, this little exercise serves as a reminder that gardens experience four seasons.

While we are dwelling in that fourth season, there are probably a few necessary indoor gardening tasks. Houseplants don’t need to be fed in the winter, but they do need to be watered, cleaned and protected.

You have probably done some dusting after putting away holiday décor. Sometimes the living plants are overlooked at this time, so check on them now. The leaves of succulents and broad-leaved plants can be wiped off with a soft cloth. However, that is a painstaking process and doesn’t cover many other plant varieties.

For all plants of manageable size, try this quicker cleaning strategy: Place the potted plant in a plastic bag and gather the excess plastic around the plant’s stem or stems. Set the protected pot in a deep sink or bathtub, and use the sprayer head or handheld shower head to rinse off the leaves with tepid water. Once the leaves stop dripping, the pot can be extricated from the plastic and returned to its saucer.

Wherever possible, try to situate plants at least a foot from cold window panes. Another possible stressor is pests, so do look carefully at plants. If you spot webs, goo or cottony blobs, there is a pest at work. In most cases, removing the debris and using insecticidal soap will stop the pest before too much damage is done.

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