Perennials: Ornamental grasses, especially native varieties, fit harmoniously into almost any planting plan. Their interest derives from translucence, line, form, texture and scale — all the elements that contribute to excellent design. Look around at existing grass plantings and decide where in your landscape they might fit.
Flowers: Think about growing flowers for drying next year. A dried flower arrangement or wreath made now will keep at least a year. “Everlastings” include achilleas, pearly everlasting (Anaphalis), lavender, and many grasses and seedheads.
Vegetables and fruits: Complete protection of trees from mouse and vole damage with wire mesh trunk guards. Complete protection of shrubs from deer browsing with burlap, netting and spray repellents.
Trees and shrubs: A live Christmas tree should only be kept indoors for a week to 10 days, then moved to a shady cool area until it can be placed in its (hopefully) pre-dug hole and watered well all winter. A cut Christmas tree should have its trunk recut an inch or so before placing in a bucket of water for a day or so, then sprayed with antidessicant before bringing in for decorating. A cut tree can absorb a quart of water a day so keep the stand container full.
Lawns: Make sure the lawn is cleared of wet leaves. Dig up any lingering crabgrass or dandelion plants before the ground freezes.
Houseplants: Fresh new plants, including festive holiday plants, make a welcome gift to receive or give. Before selecting plants determine the light intensity available at the location where the plant will be grown. Or give a gro-light along with the gift plant.
General: Make sure the driveway is marked with stakes to guide the snow plow. Stock up on materials for icy walkways. Salt is very toxic to grass and flowers. Sand, kitty litter and sawdust are safe substitutes.
Susan Henry, master gardener with Cornell Cooperative Extension of Westchester