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Garden Tips: January 2012

By Linda Dodds, Master Gardener and Fox Islander

Happy 2012!  I hope you have all survived the late December wind and rain and you did  not find any severe damage done to your gardens.  It looked like earlier in the month that it would be either one of the driest or the driest December in recorded weather records.  But instead of drought or worse yet…snowy and icy roads, we had a fairly mild December until the last week.

So now it is a mystery what January will bring weather wise.  It could become icy and we could be covered in 18 inches of snow and have broken water lines.  If any of these conditions should occur, take extra precautions in caring for your plants and shrubs.  First, turn off you outside water hookups and get them repaired quickly.  A lot of water can be flowing out of broken lines which would not only do damage to your home and garden, but also be wasteful Snow piling up on brittle branches can cause the to break.  Do walk through your yard and remove any broken or damaged limbs caused from snow of heavy winds.


Or it could be just soggy and wet and that would leave a lot of gardeners housebound. But for the few and hardy souls among us who don’t worry about shrinking in the rain, take advantage of the softened soil and pull weeds out before the soil gets compacted and dry.  The weeds just practically jump out when the soil is wet.  Another good winter garden project is to sharpen and lubricate garden tools.  They will appreciate a good sharpening so much that they will delight you with their ease of use in the spring.


On really rainy and windy days, curl up in front of a toasty fire with a good garden book and plan your summer garden for 2012.  As you browse through pictures of gardens you really like, save the pages so you can incorporate some of those great ideas into your own garden.  Let your mind soar with new ideas and don’t be afraid to make a dramatic splash of color and interest in your yard.  After returning from Italy several years ago, I decided that I needed some ruins in my yard so after finding a recipe for hypertuffa and with the help of cardboard tubes, I created my Italian ruins.  Now I am planning a beach garden with tropical looking plants encasing a white sand area.  I purchased a Hawaiian grass skirt at a garage sale and will incorporated Rhonda, our tikki goddess, into the plan and add some tikki torches.  I just hope with all the sand that it doesn’t become the neighborhood ‘cat box’!

That may all sound crazy to you, but I’m a dreamer and it’s a lot cheaper than buying a waterfront house on Waikiki!