Perennials: Spread some 5-10-5 fertilizer before mulching to give plants an early spring feeding. Consider leaving a few flower heads for winter interest. Caryopteris and buddleia (butterfly bush) should be pruned in the early spring, not now.
Vegetables and fruits: Parsley is cold tolerant but should be replanted every year even though it is a biennial. Flat leaf is more flavorful and curly is prettier. Always wash it well before using. It can be kept in a glass of water like a flower arrangement or in a plastic bag in the refrigerator.
Trees and shrubs: Continue clipping and pruning evergreens for holiday decorations. Use good pruning practices, cutting all over plant to maintain a shapely appearance. Arrange for winter tree pruning. Arborists have less work in the winter and may give a better price so that they can keep their crews busy, weather permitting.
Lawns: Check for mole tunnels and fill them in with soil before the ground freezes. Some mounds in the lawn are caused by earthworms working in the top few inches of turf. Unfortunately moles are not killed by winter cold. They only go deeper. A dug up lawn could also be skunks searching for yellow jacket nests.
Houseplants: For a table centerpiece, assemble a group of plants (in small pots) such as kalanchoe, cyclamen, poinsettias or gloxinias. Arrange them in a good sized waterproof saucer, surrounded by greens, pinecones, ribbons and other accessories. The miniature cyclamens grow better at warmer temperatures than florist types and may last longer in a warm room.
General: Landscapers and tree services are using compost tea with some success. It is difficult to make compost tea at home because it must be constantly aerated. Be sure to do thorough research before attempting.
Susan Henry, master gardener with Cornell Cooperative Extension of Westchester