A New Year, A Fresh Start

A very happy New Year! May this be the year our gardens outdo our expectations and show us how to be our best selves.

A light warm-up of garden to-dos for this first month of 2024 –

  1. Take down holiday decorations. Before disposing off the Christmas tree, cut branches to spread as mulch on flower beds.
  2. Keep bird feeders full. Whenever possible, keep water available for the birds.
  3. Inspect stored tubers, corms and bulbs for signs of mold and rot. Get rid of any that don’t look healthy.
  4. This is a good time to examine the ‘bones’ of the garden. Make notes of what needs developing, changing or improving.
  5. Make icy paths safe by sprinkling sand or grit. Avoid toxic de-icing products.
  6. If ground is wet/soggy, take care to protect the sodden areas by not walking on it too much. Better yet, protect it by putting down a temporary path of wood planks.
  7. Take an inventory of garden tools. Get them repaired, replaced or sharpened.
  8. Gather up seed and plant catalogs. Start planning for the coming season.
  9. Begin forcing the bulbs kept cool since late fall. Time to start an indoor spring!
  10. Keep an eye on indoor plants ( in the house or greenhouse). Inspect carefully for signs of pests or disease. Act right away if either is detected. Organic practices only please.
  11. Still on indoor plants: water as needed, rotate for uniform light exposure, fertilize every two to four weeks. Remove dead or yellowing leaves.
  12. Survey the garden after every storm or snowfall. If any damage such as broken branches or torn off protection has occurred, try to fix it as soon as possible. Likewise, large icicles hanging from roof edges pose a threat to plants below: shield the plants if the icicles cannot be removed.
  13. Enjoy the quiet respite offered by this first month.

Some images from my recent stay in Bali to give you a little escape from the cold clutches of winter. Bali is where the the sacred and sublime mingle seamlessly with the hustle and bustle of commerce and tourism –

(c) 2024 Shobha Vanchiswar

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