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Tuesday, Sep 19, 2017
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Impatient gardeners reach a dead end

As we gardeners work through the many stages of freeze recovery - denial, grief, rage, guilt, etc. - many of us are getting to the last, and most difficult level: Delay. It is so hard to keep one's pruners away from all the brown! Already I've trimmed a little and pulled out the clearly dead. But I'm aching to get out there and get rid of all signs of destruction. And that's just not smart. Many of my plants - the bougainvilleas, for instance - don't need pruning at all; they just need time to shed their dead leaves. And the new shoots bravely poking out of the arecas and tis may need the protection of their battered forebears for a while longer.
So how does one nip the need to carve away the carnage? Here are some things I'm trying: Go away for the weekend. Don't sit there and stare at your wrecked plants. It's depressing! Get those visits to friends and family out of the way now so you'll be free to garden when the time is right. Go shopping for your garden. Buy a birdhouse or some bright-colored trinket that will add a little oomph while you're waiting for your blooms to return. Weed. My lantana and plumbagos were so thick, it was difficult to get to the weeds and grass that grow up in those beds. Now is the time to get in there and get rid of them. Draw up a plan. I'm dying to put in new, happy plants, but I'm worried about another freeze. Instead I'm going to reassess my garden's randomness and work on a design to pull it together a little more. Start - and finish - a craft project. A few months ago, I wrote about crafting some cute garden art - a fish made from painted clay pots. I never got around to it. Now, I will. Clean old pots. I'm really lazy about this, but never before have so many of my pots been empty at the same time. It'll be easier to do them in a bunch. (While I'm at it, I'll check again to be sure they all have good drainage holes.) Start a compost pile. There will be plenty to throw on there when you do start trimming. Sharpen your gardening tools. When it's time to prune, you'll be glad your tools are up to the job. Lay down fresh mulch. Once your plants have finished dropping their leaves, you'll want to freshen up the ground around them. New mulch always makes the garden look better. Read and comment on The Dirt. We update the blog regularly, and our commenters range from knowledgeable to newbies. It's a good place to vent your freeze frustration.

Come play in The Dirt at TBO.com, Keyword: Dirt. We provide all the tools.

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