Perennials: With foliage gone gardeners can envision a preferred design. Too much blue last year? Not enough pop? Make a note to watch for self seeders, such as poppies and nicotiana. The fashion for gardening with native plants is generating some skeptics. Native plants are good for preserving the wildlife that depends on them but may not add much to a colorful garden design.
Flowers: The 2014 All-America Award winners have been chosen after testing new seed varieties in national test plots that have demonstrated superior performance. Zinnia ‘Profusion’ has two winners ‘Double Hot Cherry’ and ‘Double Deep Salmon.’ Profusion blooms from spring through frost, holds its color, does not mind heat, is self cleaning and disease free. When shopping at nurseries, look for the distinctive AAS insignia on plant labels.
Trees and shrubs: If you have limited space or wish to place shrubs in the border, look for dwarf cultivars of your favorites.
Vegetables and fruits: Citrus can be grown in this climate in a container that overwinters indoors. They need six hours of direct sunlight or a strong growlight. In a dry warm room misting the plants will be helpful. Fertilize once a month and if the leaves are turning yellow give an extra helping of citrus fertilizer. Wait until freezing temperatures are past in the spring and acclimatize the tree to the outdoors in a shady spot for the first week.
Lawn: Place barriers to discourage the dog from using the same path around the yard.
Houseplants: Wait to fertilize until new growth appears.
General: Deck the halls.
Susan Henry, master gardener with Cornell Cooperative Extension of Westchester