Perennials: Gardening in the shade can be challenging but creative. Adding white accents, such as variegated hosta for deep shade, golden tones in medium shade and red or burgundy in light shade makes a stunning statement and will relieve the eye from nothing but green.
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 honors from the All America Selections committee. Begin lists of new vegetables to try. Make particular note of tomatoes that are resistant to late blight.
Trees and shrubs: A live Christmas tree should be moved outside this week. Keep the root ball well watered. If the ground is frozen and you can’t plant it immediately, keep it in the shade and out of the wind. Loss of moisture will shorten the life of the tree so be sure to give it 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: Start new paperwhite bulbs every few weeks for continual bloom. Keep indoor ferns misted. Grow scented geraniums for their fragrant foliage. Pot 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.
General: Organic products are not necessarily the most effective or safest for the environment. A goal of a sustainable yard and garden is more sensible. Mulch and compost are two essential ingredients.