February 2016

February  Tips

Even though it may still be cold, damp and miserable outdoors,
an occasional dose of sunshine could certainly put the gardening bug into you.
With a little luck, Mother Nature will send a few blossoms your way this month.

We are now at a time when we can no longer put off those garden projects, waiting for a nice day……
Don’t be caught off guard though, winter is far from being over!
If exceptionally cold weather is predicted, protect  flowering or tender plants by covering them with some type of cloth material.

Remove the covering as soon as the weather moderates again.

Plants in Flower

Wintersweet, Breath-of-Spring (Winter Honeysuckle), Lenton-Rose (Helleborus), Trailing Arbutus, Crocus, Violets, and Japanese Flowering Apricot.


Trees and Shrubs


Deciduous shrubs and trees are still dormant enough to transplant this month.
Once the buds have begun to swell, it will be too late.  Azaleas and small shrubs transplant easily but moving rhododendrons and other species size plants takes considerably more effort.

Trees that weren’t fed last fall should be deep fed by punching a series of 1-2 inch holes
two feet apart around the drip line and filled with an appropriate food.
A mulch of well composted manure is also an excellent treat for your tree.

Mid to late February is the time to fertilize shrubs and evergreens.
Use an acid type Rhododendron fertilizer to feed evergreens, conifers,
broad leaf evergreens, Rhododendrons, Azaleas and Camellias.
Use an all-purpose fertilizer to feed Roses and other deciduous trees and shrubs.
If you use granular type fertilizers, be sure to water it in thoroughly.

Prune your summer flowering shrubs now but be aware that spring bloomers have already
produced their buds last fall, and pruning them now will result in the loss of flowers.
Forsythia, Quince, Spirea and other early spring flowering shrubs should be pruned a little later, after they have finished flowering.

Pruning should be done to improve the shape of the plant, as well as to open up the center of the plant to good air circulation and sun exposure.
Always start your pruning by removing all dead, decayed or broken branches.
The methods of pruning Roses vary, depending on the type of Rose.
Climbing roses should be thinned out to get rid of last years tangled growth.

It’s a good time to stroll around and trim back any branches that were damaged by the ravages of winter.

If you haven’t yet applied your dormant spray to your fruit trees, DO IT NOW!!

Annuals and Perennials

Plants that may have been pushed out of the ground by frost heave
should be pressed firmly back into place.

Plant Daylilies, Bleeding Hearts, and Hostas this month.

Deciduous vines such as Honeysuckle should be pruned for shape.

Most perennials can be divided and moved up until the time they begin to show new growth.

Check your over-wintered plants such as Fuchsias and Geraniums,
and if they are shriveled water them lightly.

Stored summer flowering bulbs may try to start into growth if they are subjected to heat.
They should be kept very dry, and stored at 45° F.
If they are shriveling, put them into slightly damp peat moss, but keep them cool!

If you plan to grow Lobelia, Ageratum, Verbena, Petunia, Vinca,
or other slow growing plants from scratch, the seeds should be started indoors in the later part of the month.


Your house plants may notice the longer days, and begin growing.
You can begin feeding them again, but only use a half strength solution of
your House Plant fertilizer until the growth is robust

Continue feeding our feathered friends, you’ll want them to stick around
to help you in insect control when the weather warms again.

Did you check your garden tools yet?
Don’t wait ’til the spring rush to get your mower back in shape!

In the event of snow, be sure to shake or brush off the white stuff
from the branches of evergreens and shrubs.




January 2016

January Tips

We had a few warm days recently, and some of my bulbs got the foolish idea that spring was near.
Probably not a good idea since more icy weather is almost sure to come.
Add a little compost and a thick layer of mulch to protect the tender new growth.
This is an excellent use for the branches of your discarded Christmas trees.

In the event of snow, be sure to shake or brush off the white stuff from the branches
of your evergreens and shrubs. The light fluffy snow poses no real threat,
but if it should become wet and frozen, the weight dramatically increases.
Branches are more brittle when the plants are dormant, and the weight of the snow may snap them off.

Dormant spraying of fruit trees, Cotoneaster, Dogwoods, etc. should be done this month.

It’s a good time to prune most of your deciduous trees and shrubs.

Forsythia, Jasmine, Pussy Willow and Quince sprays can be cut and brought into the house now for forcing.
The warmth in the home will bring some early bloom to your room.

Fireplace ashes should be saved to use a fertilizer for your Iris and other alkaline soil plants.

If the ground is workable at all (not frozen and not too wet), now is an excellent time to turn the soil.
Not only will this expose insect eggs to the effects of winter and hungry birds,
the freezing will help to break apart heavy clods of dirt.

Don’t forget about caring for your house plants!