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10 Wintry Tips to Prep Your Garden for Spring

Inject fresh life into your yard by protecting it now and prepping for spring early. Plus: Get the dirt on what to plant this year.
By | |Photography by Elizabeth Lavin
Elizabeth Lavin

What are the top 10 things you can do in January and February to get your landscape ready for spring? Bonick Landscaping garden managers Kat Hicks, Stacy Smith, and Ralph Edge offer their prep list.

  1. Plant trees and shrubs, though some specimens may need some special protection in a hard freeze.
  2. Divide perennials and biennials such as day lilies, iris, Shasta daisies, and phlox.
  3. Start perennial seeds indoors.
  4. Perform a final leaf clean-out if using as a protective layer in the garden.
  5. Add a bird bath or water station for birds and pollinators soon to emerge.
  6. Freshen mulch in beds.
  7. Have trees trimmed for health and appearance.
  8. Begin corrective pruning on improperly shaped hedges.
  9. Remove overgrown out-of-scale shrubs, replace with plants of more appropriate mature size.
  10. Remove dead wood from evergreens.

What to plant:

Whether you need a splash of color or some (nearly) instant gratification, From the Ground Up Landscaping’s Daniel Houchard shares four plants worth adding to your garden.

Hydrangea ‘Lime Light’ 

Houchard says this full-sun-tolerant variety is perfect “for those who love a Hydrangea but have more sun than they can typically handle.” The white blossoms, which bloom from mid-June into fall, are perfect for cutting and bringing indoors as they rebloom, Houchard says, adding: “Plant en masse for the greatest effect.”

 Vitex ‘Shoal’s Creek’ 

Houchard notes of this large shrub, which can be pruned into a tree form, “They grow extremely fast, so you can start with a small specimen and have a nice medium-sized tree in no time.” Capable of handing all-day Texas sun yet freeze tolerant, it provides “spectacular” color beginning in late spring.  

 Salvia leucantha ‘Santa Barbara’ 

Houchard says this perennial, a dwarf version of the original, really takes off blooming in the fall, “so you have spectacular color once everything else begins to fade.”


“I love using these as a focal point for something sculptural in the landscape,” Houchard says. “Even better when placed in a great pot that will elevate them and create an anchor for a perennial bed or even in a sea of groundcover or shrub bed.”

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