Bind all evergreens with spirals of twine to reduce snow damage. Be gentle when shaking snow from the branches. Cut boughs from discarded Christmas trees and spread them over perennial garden. Purchased lilly of the valley pips will bloom in three weeks if potted in shallow containers and kept in a warm room for the first week.

Do not prune spring flowering shrubs such as azaleas, flowering quince, forsythias or lilacs or you will sacrifice bloom. Pot up gloxinia tubers indoors for early summer bloom and resume fertilizing other indoor houseplants. Order seeds and plants early to get the varieties you want.

Don't hurry to uncover roses, bulbs and other perennials. Pull the mulch back gradually as plants show signals of growth. Pruned branches of flowering shrubs (forsythia, early spirea, flowering peach and quince) will bloom indoors in a vase filled with water. For maximum sweetness harvest over-wintered parsnips before they begin to sprout new foliage.

fertilize blueberries with amonium sulfate and prune by removing older twiggier stems. Finish pruning roses . Heavier pruning will result in fever finer blooms, light pruning in a profusion of smaller ones. Hardy water lilies can be planted now, but wait until the water has warmed in May or June to plant the tropical varieties.

Harden off annuals that have been grown indoors by exposing them to progressively longer periods of outdoor sunlight each day. Plant asparagus crowns only a few inches deep and do not harvest until next year (then only lightly). Wait to set out eggplant and pepper plants until a week after the last frost. Black plastic mulch will increase yields

Prune spring flowering shrubs (lilacs, spirea and forsythia) immediately after flowering. Snap off the developing seed pods of rhododendrons and azaleas to improve next years bloom. But be careful ! - next year's buds are just below this year's heads. Set houseplants outdoors in the shade of a tree. Support the pots to prevent them from being blown over.

Leave grass clippings on the lawn to decay and return nutrients to the soil. After delphiniums finish flowering cut back stalks and scratch fertilizer around each plant to encourage a second blooming. Propagate Oriental poppies when they have died down by cutting two inch sections of the dormant roots. When replanted most will yield new plants.

Potatoes can be dug as soon as the tops have died down, but the tubers can be stored by leaving them in the soil until fall. Strawflowers and other everlasting's dry best if the stems are harvested before the flowers are fully open. Remove seed heads from phiox to prevent them from self seeding. The offspring are colored a washed-out magenta.

Plant peonies. Be careful not to position the crown more than two inches deep or the plants will not bloom. Gourds for winter decoration should be picked before frost. Leave stems on and store in a warm dry place. Lawns started now will be established by next spring and better able to deal with weeds and drought than spring-sown grass.

After frost, dig up dahlias and cannas and store in a cool dry location. Dahlia roots can be washed and tightly wrapped in dry newspaper. Cannas keep best when left in a ball of earth indoors until next spring. Protect carrots from mice by digging them up, removing the tops and storing the roots in a damp sand inside a metal barrel above freezing.

Renew your soil's humus by spreading a two inch layer of compost over beds, being careful not to bury crowns of plants. Turn off outdoor water supply and drain pipes and hoses. Be sure to leave the tap open once the water has been turned off. Finish planting your tulip bulbs and mulch the soil to give the bulbs time to root before the ground freezes.

Protect young fruit trees from gnawing rodents by wrapping the trunk with fine mesh hardware cloth from below the soil line to above the now line. Hang bars of fragrant soap to repel deer. Each bar protects three feet. Pot amaryllis bulbs with only the bottom third in the soil. Water and set in a cool dark place until roots have formed and the bud is visible.

The calendar of gardening activities is for areas with cold winters, hardiness zones 3-7


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