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Tue, Oct. 15

Column: The Garden Guy's landscaping resolutions

There’s more to lawn ornaments than garden gnomes.

Courtesy<p> There’s more to lawn ornaments than garden gnomes.

It's hard to believe that I will be going on year six with this garden column. I get a lot of positive feedback from many of you and those who take issue with my gardening techniques have been kind. I am grateful for both those responses and I thank you. If there is a garden subject you would like me to cover in this column, shoot me an email anytime at Also, I encourage you to write me with gardening tricks, tips, shortcuts and questions. I'm a gardener who is always learning how to do things better and loves getting input from my fellow gardeners.

As I begin to cut back perennials, shape the shrubs and limb the trees my imagination runs wild with spring possibilities and I start plans for the coming season. For many of us the pleasure in planning a spring garden project is enough to dispel any gardener's winter blues. As usual, most of my New Year's resolutions revolve around my outdoor projects. Some of these resolutions are destined to be broken, but whether or not I follow through with my good intentions, the anticipation of fulfilling them is highly therapeutic until I can get back to the soil.

Here are my personal garden goals for the coming year and I think they are very apropos for all local landscapes.

New Year's Resolutions for the Local Gardener

I will bring more cut flowers indoors.

I will have more interesting evergreens in my landscape.

I will enjoy more perennial flowers in the garden, even if I have to plant them in containers.

I will do major pruning on trees and shrubs, especially those that present hazards.

I will stop complaining and do something to reduce water usage. (Think drip irrigation)

I will grow even better herbs and vegetables this year.

I will build a patio or deck for myself or for a friend.

I will replace ugly plants with more attractive new ones, both outside and indoors.

I will use a landscape professional to help define my outdoor style.

I will install a water feature for myself or for a friend.

I will use granular weed preventers to stop weeds before they emerge in the yard.

I will deal with garden insects while they are small and easy to eliminate.

I will not be discouraged by animals in the garden and do something to keep them at bay.

I will help the environment by planting a tree in my yard or in a friend's.

I will feed my entire yard with Start-N-Grow plant food at least three times this year.

I will "stop to smell the roses" and invite friends to do the same.

Note: Many of these resolutions will be the topics of future garden columns.

As you can see, my energy and thoughts have already shifted to spring 2009, prodded along by the spring gardening items already arriving at the garden center. In addition to a massive display of wildflower seeds to be planted in January, there are organic flower and vegetable seeds. Fruit trees ready for planting have arrived and the roses will be here within days.

A friend just asked, "Ken, what do you do with the holiday stuff left after the season, and do you lose money trying to get rid of it?" My answer is the same as that of most retailers: Liquidate at all costs, even if you have to take a loss on some items; we need the space for spring stuff. Storage is expensive, and I would much rather let my customers take home some serious bargains than have to store items for a year.

Another reason for liquidating holiday items is that the first garden columns of each year revolve around pruning and soil preparation, and how to spread wildflowers, take houseplant cuttings, transplant African violets, or bring orchids back into bloom. All these topics bring customers to the garden center filled with technical questions, and holiday ornaments just don't fit into a garden center's decor after the New Year. I encourage you to visit me at the garden center, pick up a screaming deal on all things holiday and let me show off all the new arrivals for the spring season.

To my garden friends I send my best wishes that you, yours and your gardens will have a healthy and happy 2009.

Until next week, I'll see you in the garden center.

Ken Lain, "my personal mission is to help local homeowners garden better in our mountain landscapes." For personal advice Ken can be found at Watters Garden Center located at 1815 W. Iron Springs Road, Prescott, or contact through the web at

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