Perennials: Plan for next spring using garden notes, photographs and sketches. Read up on current design trends in gardening and hardscaping. New ideas may emerge that are just right for your garden. Make sure new perennials are mulched. Remember that snow is the very best mulch.
Flowers: Gather incoming seed catalogs and order new ones, or browse online for the latest new plants and tried-and-true favorites. Begin planning and ordering, keeping in mind the size of your space — and resist the urge to order too many seeds. Plan a seeding schedule for spring. Check stored dahlia, canna and gladiola bulbs and tubers for rotting or drying out.
Vegetables and fruits: Plan orders for new fruit trees, shrubs or plants. Consider a strawberry bed or raspberry canes if there is a space in full sun. They will all need protective fencing.
Trees and shrubs: If there is heavy snow, carefully remove it from evergreens if they are weighted down. Remember that is often best to just them alone, to avoid breaking and damaging weighted-down limbs. Prune away damaged branches right away. Water newly planted trees all winter unless there is ample rain, snow cover or the ground is frozen.
Lawn: If the lawn is bare avoid walking on it and keep the pets off, too.
Houseplants: Keep holiday plants cool, and they will last longer. However they should be away from window drafts.
General: Place the discarded Christmas tree near a bird feeder for the birds to use as protection from wind and predators.
Susan Henry, master gardener with Cornell Cooperative Extension of Westchester