Plan a Sunflower Maze With a Child
Put your arm around a youngster and grab a seed catalog, colored pencils or crayons, paper, scissors, and glue. Play, plan, and draw. Sunflowers come in yellow, orange, mahogany, tall, short, large, small. Have your young friend choose one, many, or all types and colors to paste on the maze you draw together. Come spring, buy the seeds together. Map out the maze with string and posts. Plant, water, and weed. Invite friends and neighbors to zigzag between the flowery walls.
Prepare Exhibits for Your Local Flower Show
Are you feeling competitive AND itchy to start gardening? Consider entering an exhibit -- a prized plant or flower arrangement -- in your local flower show. Individuals, groups, and garden clubs are usually welcome to participate. As soon as possible, surf the Web to locate the show's Exhibitor's Guide and Entry Form. Registration could be due any day now.
Apply For Project Orange Thumb Grant
Fire up your computer and gather gardening friends. Applications are due Feb. 15 for Fiskar's Project Orange Thumb Grant for up to $1,500 in Fiskars garden tools and up to $800.00 in gardening-related materials. Ten grant award winners will be selected. Community garden groups, schools, youth groups, community centers, camps, clubs, treatment facilities, and the like are encouraged to apply. The focus is community involvement, neighborhood beautification, sustainable agriculture and/or horticulture education. For details, see http://www.fiskars.com/content/garden_en_us/Garden/Community/project+orange+thumb.
Remove Overwintering Insects on Trees and Shrubs
Prune off galls on roses, pines, junipers, and willows. Clip away twiggy-looking bagworm cocoons from junipers and deciduous tree branches. Pick or prune off tent caterpillar egg masses (brown or gray frothy material hardened to look like Styrofoam) from tree trunks and branches. Scrape off and destroy (by burning or soaking in kerosene) small, tan gypsy moth egg masses attached to trees, fences, wood piles, and outbuildings. On warm days with temps above 40 degrees for several hours, spray horticultural oil on hemlocks infested with waxy, white egg masses of wooly adelgid.
Tend Indoor Plants
Take a few minutes to check on your indoor plants. Are they looking healthy enough? Insect-free? Shiny, firm leaves? Don't expect them to grow much during winter; many are in a holding pattern until spring's brighter light stirs them. Turn pots so a different side gets the good light. If plants are infested with insects and showing signs of distress, identify and treat the problem ASAP before damage gets too far along to remedy easily.