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Garden Workshops
A seasoned instructor, Beth enjoys teaching through demonstration as well as guiding interactive workshops. All programs are custom-designed for your organization. You can create a potted garden, fresh floral arrangement, wreath, pruning class or alternative natural design – and enjoy yourself while you learn!  Beth is also happy to visit you in your own garden to provide private small group gardening lessons. A wonderful and impactful way to learn in your own garden with your own plants.

Beth workshop workshop1 Girl Scouts

Monthly Gardening Chores

Mother Nature acts as a ‘great equalizer’ and it is better to take garden chore queues from what the sky, temperature and the soil are illustrating instead of a hard fast date on the calendar.  In our ever changing season creep, demonstrated through hotter spring and summer seasons, followed by extreme snow falls, plummeting temperatures and winter precipitation, gardeners are highly aware of the changing weather patterns.  Here in a picturesque section of northern New Jersey, summers now stretch into early November, temperatures frequently plummet into single digits, modifying our USDA Plant Hardiness Zone as well as creating new challenges for the quest of the ‘new hardy.’  

The ever changing weather patterns have created a situation requiring gardeners to maintain the best care and well-being for plant collections. What a typical season looks like, however, is changing. Climate change can make certain types of extreme weather more intense or frequent, thus creating new challenges for gardeners.  Please remember that this suggested seasonal chore outline must be adjusted for your Zone, climactic factors such as snow cover and winter sun  exposure, proximity to water, and microclimates. These factors can influence your gardening activities and plant durability. The following month by month suggestions are meant to act as a guide, and not steadfast rules.



       Spend time with your notes from the past season, begin making lists for divisions, relocations, and additions

       Determine types and quantities of plants you will need to order

       A great time for ‘arm chair’ gardening – place orders with seed and nursery catalogs now



       Place branches from your Christmas tree on top of tender perennials for insulation

       Inspect ornamental trees and shrubs for scale insects

       Re-dress frost heaved perennials with an extra layer of mulch

       Prune away storm damaged branches promptly, to prevent tearing of bark

       Prune pussy willow, quince to bring branches in for forcing

       Keep bird feeders filled throughout winter




       Complete seed and nursery orders, review past seasons notes, photos and sketches to develop plan for this growing season



       Verify that all mulches and winter plant protection are still in place.  Do not be fooled by warm sunny days, it is still too early to remove cold weather protection

       Continue to inspect trees and shrubs for rodent and weather damage

       Prune summer and fall blooming shrubs

       Clean and sharpen tools, in preparation for spring

       Sow seeds of annuals which require a long growing season i.e. lobelia, petunia, vinca, verbena, snapdragon

       Keep bird feeders filled throughout winter




      Test for soil types and PH levels before any major planting.  As soon as the soil is workable, contact your local cooperative extension service and inquire with an agent for steps and processes to complete an assessment



       Remove winter protection from planting beds; do so with care, as plant materials may have initiated new growth

       Dig compost into garden beds for spring planting, as soon as soil is friable and dry

       Reset frost-heaved plants

       Apply horticultural oil sprays to dormant trees and shrubs before buds open and there is no danger of night frost

       Start spraying deer and rodent repellant frequently

       Cut back ornamental grasses, butterfly bushes, vitex, Russian sage and native smooth hydrangeas.  Wait until after flowering on early flowering shrubs such as forsythia, hydrangea macrophylla, rhododendron and syringa

       Prune all plant material to remove any diseased, dead, weak or crossing branches

       Complete tree and shrub pruning before new growth begins

       Fertilize deciduous, broad-leaved and needle-leaved evergreen shrubs and trees, if not fed in fall

       Apply fertilizer to roses as new growth begins

       Make a ball of string, strips of old cloth and dryer lint and suspend in your trees or dense shrubs for the birds to make nests




       Review garden footprints for gaps that can be filled by spring flowering bulbs, note for July ordering

       Determine range of four season characteristics within garden; note areas for supplemental plant material such as annuals to bridge gaps in perennial bloom sequence, flowering trees and shrubs for color and time of bloom to add to the garden



       Continue to remove winter protection/mulches

       Continue to dig beds in preparation for planting and compost addition

       Begin weed removal

       Continue to apply horticultural oil sprays to control insect pests on trees if temperature is above 40 degrees

       Cut back last year’s growth from non- spring blooming herbaceous perennials to the ground

       Sow seed for cold tolerant vegetables (lettuce, spinach, radishes, peas, carrots)

       Plant deciduous and evergreen trees and shrubs, weather and soil conditions permitting

       Sow seeds of hardy annuals in place in the garden

       Set supports for peonies

       Plant early spring containers

       Continue to plant and transplant perennials

       Complete rose planting

       Fertilize perennials when you see 2-3” of new growth

       Fertilize bulbs as they finish blooming

       Fertilize needled evergreens




       Dig and divide early-blooming perennials after flowering

       Lift, divide and replant late summer and fall-blooming perennials

       Set up line and supports for vines and other plant materials 

       Begin watering program, as dictated by current weather patterns, long slow waterings are always best

       Begin weeding

       Mulch planting beds to assist with water retention, weed reduction and end of season root insulation

       Deadhead bulbs but allow foliage to remain, untied, until yellow to nourish bulbs for next seasons show

       Begin diligent inspections for pests and other problems within the garden beds

       Continue application of deer repellents

       Move self-sown annuals and perennials to desired locations or share with friends

       Complete planting of deciduous trees and shrubs, weather permitting

       Pinch back late summer and fall blooming perennials to promote full growth

       Prune early spring-flowering shrubs after blooming

       Begin dead heading roses and fertilize

       Prune evergreens into early summer




       Continue weeding

       Change over early spring containers to begin summer containers

       Water as needed; long slow waterings are best

       Deadhead early blooming shrubs, once bloom cycle is completed: lilacs, rhododendrons

       Begin to spray roses every week to protect against black spot disease; fertilize roses

       Continue application of deer repellents

       Sow seeds directly into soil for fast growing annuals such as marigolds, zinnias, and cosmos

       Finish planting summer annual plants

       Complete planting summer-flowering blubs such as dahlias and gladiolas

       Plant caladium and tuberous begonias in shady nooks

       Pinch back asters, sedums and chrysanthemums to promote tighter habits




       Order spring-flowering bulbs for fall planting

       Assess areas in the garden that may need additional plant materials

       Determine larger plant material needs for fall planting: trees and shrubs

       Photograph garden to best capture triumphs and weaknesses; black and white photos best demonstrate areas of need; make notes for next seasons plans



       Continue watering as needed; long slow waterings are always best

       Prioritize plants that are in most need of water; practice wise watering techniques

       Deep water younger large landscape plants at least once during drought periods; set hose on slow trickle and move every half hour around drip line; constantly monitor

       Continue to weed

       Monitor growth of plants requiring staking, line, support

       Deadhead annuals and perennials to encourage continual bloom

       Continue to spray roses weekly and deadhead

       Remove fallen leaves or debris from garden beds which can promote insect pests and disease

       Continue to apply deer repellent




       If rain is still in short supply continue wise watering techniques

       Continue weeding, deadheading

       Continue to check for pests and treat as needed

       Continue to keep garden beds clean of fallen leaf and other debris to reduce insect  
pests and disease

       Continue to deadhead roses

       Continue to apply deer repellent

       Cut flowers for drying: hydrangeas, yarrow, strawflower, cockscomb, gomphrena

       Divide bearded Iris and discard any borer-damaged sections

       Divide hellebores during the later part of this month

       Plant late season annuals for fall color; change over container gardens




       Continue assessments of garden performance and list needs for next growing season



       Collect seed from perennials and annuals

       Continue to cut flowers for drying

       Rid gardens of early fall leaf debris; recycling it into compost pile for later use

       Continue to apply deer repellent

       Start planting spring flowering bulbs

       Taper back on rose feeding and leave last blooms on roses so that they produce rose hips, adding to the gardens winter color

       Add organic matter such as manure or compost to improve garden soil structure

       Begin to watch weather and if frost threatens, take in houseplants; pinch back houseplants before returning them indoors and treat with an insecticidal soap to ensure pests do not compromise the plant

       Take cuttings of begonias, geraniums, coleus to grow on as houseplants

       Begin to feed birds




       Continue to use garden notes and photographs to plan for future plantings

       Prepare sketches for use next season



       Compost fallen leaves and garden debris

       Continue to weed

       Finish staking for late blooming chrysanthemums

       Lift and store tender bulbs such as dahlias, cannas, gladiolus after first frost

       Complete planting, transplanting of broad-leaved and needle-leaved evergreens and water thoroughly

       Complete lifting and dividing of iris, hellebores, daylilies

       Pot up parsley, chives and rosemary to grow indoors

       Plant bare-root roses

       Finish planting up spring-flowering bulbs

       Pot up amaryllis, tulips and other prepared bulbs and store in cool dark place until ready to force for indoor enjoyment

       Complete pre winter pruning of rambler and climbing roses to reduce winter damage

       Prune late-flowering shrubs and trees when dormant

       Bring all houseplants in before frost

       Suspend houseplant fertilizing; resume in March

       Keep bird feeders filled






       Have soil tested at a local cooperative extension service to determine PH and nutritional levels of soil, in preparation for next growing season



       Continue to water thoroughly until ground freezes

       Complete leaf debris removal to protect from overwintering of insects and disease

       Cut back perennials, but leave ornamental structures in garden for winter interest

       Protect trees and shrubs from deer with burlap or netting

       Continue to plant deciduous trees and shrubs until ground freezes

       Pot up hardy spring bulbs for indoor forcing

       Complete pruning of late-blooming trees and shrubs

       Fertilize trees and shrubs before the ground freezes so that food will be available to plants in early spring

       Clean out containers so that they do not freeze and crack, stow for use next season

       Continue to feed birds




       Use garden notes, photos and sketches to assess areas which need plants

       Determine types and quantities of plants to order

       Begin to order plants from seed and nursery catalogs



       Create winter containers made of fresh cut greens, berries, branches and pods/cones (prune evergreen branches and other plant material from your garden for use in your winter containers and decorations)

       Assess amount of mulch that remains post growing season, ensure a thorough amount still exists in the garden, as it is useful for plant root insulation; re-dress as necessary

       Keep bird feeders filled through winter

       Monitor indoor plants for pests

       Introduce pre potted indoor bulbs to increased sunlight, to enjoy during the winter months


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