SHARING OUR LOVE OF NATURE
Share these generic gardening and conservation tips with your readers as monthly features of your online or print publications - or publish an entire list to minimize your monthly updates. Better yet, look for tips that are specific to your locale on the websites of local nurseries and garden bloggers... or ask the gardening experts in your club to create a list based on their own experiences. Whatever your source, this type of information will be a great way to communicate your gardening love, knowledge and expertise to other garden club members, prospective members and the public.
Monthly Gardening Guide
Prune deciduous (leaf-dropping) trees and shrubs to remove dead or broken branches EXCEPT for spring bloomers (so you don't remove flower buds).
Watch for bulbs that emerge early and cover them at night with a plastic trash bag to keep off the frost.
Obtain a soil test so you can properly prepare your beds and lawn for the growing season.
Cut back all ornamental grasses to 6-12" if you haven't already done this.
Plant perennials, deadhead spring bulbs as they fade (but don't remove the foliage), and start planting summer annuals.
Weed regularly so they don't go to seed and steal valuable resources from the soil. Water lawn deep (but not often) to encourage strong roots.
Deadhead spent flowers on your plants to preserve energy for producing new blossoms. Keep annuals watered daily during hot dry weather.
Fertilize your flowers and perennials and prune your flowering shrubbery and trees now.
Watch for fall specials at your favorite garden center. Choose from mums, ornamental cabbage, snapdragons, or dusty miller that thrive in cool temperatures.
Take tropical water garden plants indoors when temperatures near 50 degrees. Cover water gardens with bird netting to catch dropping leaves.
Fertilize cool season grasses like fescue, for example, and continue to remove leaves from the lawn so they don't damage the foliage.
Use cuttings from your evergreens to make holiday decorations. If you decorate a live tree, remember to make a fresh cut to the trunk before placing it in the stand, and replenish the water often so your tree does not dry out.
Seasonal Conservation Tips
Use plant-friendly and pet-friendly de-icing products on your sidewalks rather than chemicals.
Use email and other digital communication resources rather than paper to avoid depletion of trees.
Check the condition of your sprinkler system, hoses and soaker hoses so you can repair or replace them now and avoid leaks that waste water during the spring and summer growing season.
Take care to apply fertilizer correctly so run-off doesn't pollute nearby bodies of water.
Incorporate rain gardens, bioswales, rock dams, and rain gardens into your landscaping to help manage rain water runoff.
Use low-angle sprinklers on your lawn to minimize evaporation of water. Use soaker hoses in your shrub and flower beds for the same reason.
Minimize the use of pesticides that can harm birds, butterflies and beneficial insects.
Water your lawn deeply (4-6 inches), but not frequently, to minimize the risk of fungi.
Reduce energy costs by planting trees now to help shade and cool your home in summer. Choose deciduous trees that allow you to enjoy warmth from the sun during winter months.
Remove leaves from your lawn and add them to your compost pile or spread them in your plant beds to mulch your perennials and shrubs.
Plant your spring-blooming bulbs now, if you haven't already, and consider expanding your collection of perennials to reduce the size of your lawn.
Use LED holiday light strings to reduce the cost of decorating your home for the holidays. If your holiday gifts include new electronics, recycle your current ones rather than discarding them.
BONUS - Additional content for your garden club publications
36 of the Best Garden Quotes by Famous People
Photo: Licensed by iStockpho