We’ve had some nice days this winter. We’ve had some crummy ones as well.

It’s easy to find something to do on the nice ones. What do you do to make being cooped up while a howling wind makes below freezing temperatures really feel cold? It might be a good time to take a look at your landscape.

It’s easy to be intimidated when it comes to designing (or redesigning) a landscape, but it doesn’t have to be with the numerous resources available to you. K-State Research and Extension offers three publications to help you get started. “Residential Landscape Design” is a general publication that can serve as an introduction to landscaping, while publications like “Naturalistic Landscaping” and “Low-Maintenance Landscaping” provide more specific ideas. All are free downloads at http://hnr.k-state.edu/extension/publications/landscaping.html or you can request a copy from your District Extension Office as well. They can be great guides to get you over that initial “I don’t have a clue where to start” hump.

Once you get a general direction in mind, search for information on suggested plants. Information specifically on Kansas recommended plants can be found at http://hnr.k-state.edu/extension/info-center/recommended-plants/index.html. Especially helpful are the Prairie Star and Prairie Bloom websites that include color pictures of plants that have been evaluated under Kansas conditions. While they don’t have pictures, the “Evergreen Shrubs” for Kansas” and “Deciduous Shrubs for Kansas” publications are also excellent resources as you determine what varieties might be best suited for Kansas conditions.

In addition to checking out these resources or those available in your local garden center, I would offer two more suggestions. First, get started on a small scale. It sounds crazy, but many a project has been put off because someone didn’t know where to begin. If you don’t like it, you can redo it. If you do, you can expand. Second, remember that your landscape is for your enjoyment. If you want a professional to design it, lean on their vast expertise. If you want to do it on your own, you can definitely try some things out that you like as well. Either way, you have to be happy with the end product, so be involved with it along the way. Good luck.

Data and Dicamba Training RSVPs due Feb. 2

Planning to attend the dicamba training (meets requirements for the auxin training required as part of the new dicamba label) and big data meeting on Feb. 7 in Nortonville? RSVPs are due Feb. 2 to the Oskaloosa Office of the Meadowlark Extension District (785-863-2212; dhallaue@ksu.edu ) or the Atchison County Extension Office (913-833-5450; cladd@ksu.edu ). The $10 registration is payable at the door.

This is the first of two auxin trainings offered in the Meadowlark Extension District. The second will be held the afternoon of Feb. 27 in Nemaha County (location TBD/details coming soon). Information on the Feb. 7 and 27 meetings, as well as links to K-State Research and Extension sponsored auxin trainings will be posted on the Meadowlark Extension District Crops & Soils page at http://www.meadowlark.k-state.edu/crops-soils/index.html.

Adam Gardner can be reached at adam.gardner@npgco.com.

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