Given the balmy days blessing Denver recently, you might not believe that a winter storm is in our forecast this week. If you have not yet prepared your garden for the season’s first measurable snowfall, now’s the time. Here are some tips to help you weather the winter storm:
• Unhook hoses. If you have not already had your sprinkler system blown out, wrap a blanket around the hose bib, where the spigot meets the house.
• If you’re able, get the gutters cleaned. Gutters filled with leaves will not allow water to drain efficiently. Plus, the weight of leaves plus heavy snow can stress and break gutters.
• Bring inside your pillows, hammock, chair cushions, market umbrellas or other lawn furnishing that don’t weather well.
• Beware of your deciduous trees. Trees with leaves reminaing can gather snow, overburdening branches, causing them to break. If your trees are holding a lot of snow, head outside with a broom. Use the broom to remove snow by pushing up on overburdened limbs, causing snow to fall off. Wear a jacket with a hood or a hat so you don’t get snow down your neck! And be sure to remove any dead limbs from trees before winter so they do not become hazards in storms.
• If you’ve lived in Denver long enough, you know the snow probably will melt, and Indian Summer weather will return. If you’re able, haul your containers of annuals into the garage for safe keeping during the storm. You’ll be able to return them to the garden once the storm passes.
• Drain fountains and bird baths to protect them from cracking during freeze/thaw cycles.
• Prior to a snow is an ideal time to winterize your lawns. I plan to add organic BioSol to my turf tomorrow so the snow will help the natural fertilizer soak into the ground.
• Remember to shovel your sidewalks: It’s not just a courtesy for neighbors; it’s the law. And if you’re a gardener, you’ll want to shovel that mulch onto your landscape for free irrigation. Your trees, plants, shrubs, perennials and turf will thank you.
• Be prepared to hunker down inside, perhaps with a fire, a pot of soup, and a good book. May I suggest my newest title: “Laid-Back Skier: As In Skiing, So In Life.” An artful gift book, the light-hearted text and whimsical illustrations by Denver artist Patty Leidy will put you in a cheerful winter state of mind.
Cultivate your corner of the world: You grow your garden; your garden grows you.
Colleen Smith gardens in and writes from a historic neighborhood in central Denver.
Her second book, “Laid-Back Skier,” was just released in September 2011 and is available through FridayJonesPublishing.com or Amazon.com.Her first novel, “Glass Halo,” was a finalist for the 2010 Santa Fe Literary Prize.
Please feel free to post a comment here; or visit my Bluestocking blog: I’d love to hear from you. ~ Colleen Smith
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