Perennials: New Year’s resolutions: I will keep accurate records of plant locations (especially bulb plantings). I will label all plants, pots and seed trays, with the variety and date, using an indelible marker. I will not order more seeds than I can take care of or plant. I will not buy a beautiful perennial specimen unless I know that it will fit in my garden. I will plant more native varieties. And I will compost, compost, compost.
Flowers: Begin looking for interesting garden containers. Build window boxes. Consolidate garden notes.
Vegetables and fruits: As new catalogs come in, make a note of the All America Selections plants. Begin lists of new vegetables to try.
Trees and shrubs: A live Christmas tree should be moved outside now. Keep the root ball well watered. If the ground is frozen and you can’t plant it right away, keep it in the shade and out of the wind. Loss of moisture will shorten the life of the tree, which will need extra water all winter. Continue watering newly planted trees and shrubs unless there is sufficient snow cover.
Lawns: Consider reducing the size of the lawn and planting a meadow instead. If several neighboring properties plant adjacent meadow areas they will provide important habitat for insects, songbirds and hawks. Meadow grass can grow in clay soil and thrives in full sun.
Houseplants: Grow scented geraniums for their fragrant foliage. Pot them in light, well-drained soil and place in southern exposures. Water carefully, when soil is dry to the touch, and rotate plants to keep them well rounded. Miniatures are charming, too. You can move them outside in the summer.