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"...We contacted and interviewed 6-8 landscapers and am glad we stayed patient and went with Classic Nursery. They fit everything in our checklist in terms of level of detail, responsiveness, easy to communicate, value and quality of work."

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Tips for January

General Tips:

January is a good time to hole up inside with all of your gardening magazines and dream about what your yard can be. View your landscape with a critical eye, noting the bones of the garden with consideration of purpose and flow. Where are the bare spots? Where can you squeeze
in more and what should come out?
For those who cannot sit inside any longer, here are some tips for January.

• Keep plants watered even in winter. It’s cold, but it is often dry, so remember that frozen water is better than none at all.
• Be ready to cover tender plants at a moment’s notice. Frost cloth or old sheets or plastic will work just to keep frost and wind off of tender plants. Take it off when danger of frost is past.
• Tie up columnar plants that may splay during winter winds. Juniper, Arborvitae and Cypress will benefit from being wrapped in twine. Remember to remove it in spring.
• Be sure to have some type of protection such as blankets or bubble wrap on hand to protect planters in case of a drop in temperatures. Drain constructed fountains if you haven’t already. It’s better to be safe than sorry. If you have a Classic pond or waterfall, there is no need to drain it or shut it off. It’s best to let it run all year.

Perennials, Annuals and Vegetables: It's still a little early to start most seeds indoors, but it won't be long, so sort through your saved seed, check your seed-starting supplies and equipment and make a list of what you'll need. This month you may see Hellebores begin to bloom. To show off these early flowers, cut most or all of last year’s leaves to the ground (most of them are probably showing damage from winter weather anyway). After they bloom, a new flush of foliage will appear. Remember to gently push down any bulbs that start to rise out of the soil. If you haven’t already, go ahead and clean out your vegetable garden. (It's okay; it has been a busy holiday season).

February is just around the corner, and especially if temperatures are on the mild side, it will be a year when peas can be planted well before President's Day. Speaking of peas, go ahead and dig in some manure where you're planning to plant peas in the spring. It will start breaking down and will make the soil all the more ready for planting when you tear open that first seed packet of the season... And while you're out in the vegetable garden, you can top-dress the garlic bed with chicken manure, which will likewise be broken down and worked into the soil by the time the plants' spring growth begins. Keep checking for weeds. They’re sneaky and like to hide under fallen leaves with the slugs.

Trees and Shrubs: It may seem early, but it’s actually almost too late if you’re hoping to special order an unusual tree or shrub this year, be sure to contact our nursery staff at We enjoy offering a wide selection of favorites and new cultivars too, but there’s no room for all the plants under the sun. There is no extra fee, but special orders are generally limited to medium to large plants and require advance payment.

Now that many trees and shrubs are fully dormant, selective pruning can be done. (Easy does it on plants that bloom in early spring. Too much pruning on these will result in no flowers this spring, so wait for major pruning until directly after they bloom). Without its leaves, it is easier to see the structure of your tree's trunk and branching, its particular shape and design. Prune out dead wood and crossing branches that rub against one another and braches that can cause damage. Check with the nursery for needs of particular plants if you're uncertain. Our horticulturists can even offer an impromptu hands-on demonstration.

Special Winter Note: Do NOT prune if temperatures are at or below freezing! The wood of many plants will crack under these conditions. Hint: If you're lightly pruning unwanted branches and water sprouts from some of those early-bloomers, bring them inside and put them in a vase of water. This will force their bloom and you will have their beauty to enjoy before the plant outside puts on its show. The list includes Witch-hazel, Forsythia, Sarcococca, early-flowering Cherry and Pussywillow.

Out in the garden, remove any stray leaves that may still be remaining on your roses. Be sure to discard these leaves (do not compost them or use as mulch) to help cut down on the spread of blackspot and other diseases. Because this part of our winter has become more unpredictable than ever, you might want to also apply compost to the base of roses. Mound it high enough to cover the graft in order to protect that more vulnerable joint from the fluctuations in temperature. Again, be sure to remove any mulch from around the trunk of the plant when the threat of freeze has passed.

Time to be applying dormant spray to fruit trees (remember, maybe three applications may be needed between now and about Valentine's Day to get the job done while trees are dormant). Most trees want a lime sulfur spray. Use copper for preventing Peach Leaf Curl. For a living Christmas tree that you haven't yet planted, be sure to keep it on a protected porch or in the garage for several days — an "in-between" step in temperature to acclimate the tree more gradually to the outdoor temperatures.

Looking Ahead
February is the start of the gardening season here at the nursery. Though many plants are still sleeping this time of year we are starting to get in a bunch of new bare-root material that are ready to wake up to a new home. Some of what to expect for late January are various fruit trees like apples, Asian and European pears, sweet cherries, Japanese & European plums, and a few filberts (hazelnuts). We will of course carry several kinds of berry like strawberries, raspberries, currants and rhubarb (I know not a berry but it is bareroot)
And let’s not forget that Roses will arrive in February and will be ready to grace your garden with thorny loveliness and lead way to a myriad of colors to be enjoyed for years to come.