Climate change was on my mind when I recently visited my community garden during weather that felt a lot more like spring than midwinter. I should not be surprised that in these mild temperatures the ornamental garden has slowed down but not ceased growing completely. The basal leaves of anemones, asters, goldenrod, and monkshood are visible as they gather energy for the coming season. Remarkably, the buds on my fall-blooming witch hazel continue to open. Now that... >>more
Great Garden Gadgets
Everyone loves gadgets, and gardeners are no exception. Gadgets don't eliminate chores but they make the work easier and more enjoyable. To me, the term "gadget" is a term of affection, more personal and fun than the word "tool." A good gadget inspires you to use it. As you plan your 2008 garden, think about what gadgets might come in handy and be fun to try. To give you some... >>more
Cleaning and Sharpening Your Garden Tools
There's usually not much gardening to do in February because in many parts of the country the ground is frozen. Winter is a time for gardeners' minds to wander through seed catalogs and for their feet to meander through flower.... >>more
February Q and A
Question: I bought a property in Washington State that has several mature fruit trees. They look like they have not been pruned or kept up for years, and they have serious moss growing on... more
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February Gardening Tips
Peruse seed catalogs. You can find a plethora of interesting seed companies online. Sometimes just reading the catalog can be exciting. There are still people traveling the world and collecting exotic plants that will bring a bountiful harvest or a spectacular display to your garden. Now is the time to dream big. Have fun making your wish list. But before you order, take a reality check. Do you have the proper conditions for germinating seeds? Does your garden have the right sunlight, soil, and space needed for the plants on your list? Once your wish list squares with your actual conditions, then you can order. Combine your order with others to get bulk rates and reduced shipping charges. Give extra seed (and you'll have plenty) to community gardens, schools, and churches.
Carry the holiday spirit into February by hosting a repotting party. Gather friends and family on a lazy weekend afternoon to divide, repot, and revive houseplants. This is a great opportunity to learn about and receive new plants with some personal history, and to gather special plants for gifts for the elderly or infirm.
Don't limit yourself to giving cut flowers to your sweetie. Potted plants make beautiful, memorable gifts. If you choose wisely, they can last as long as your love, and in many cases longer. Garden centers, supermarkets, and big box stores have large selections. Mini roses, bellflowers (campanula), and primroses (primula) are colorful, floriferous, and low maintenance. In spring they can be planted in the garden to provide blooms year after year. Houseplants that make decorative, long-lasting gifts include the eternity plant (Zamioculcas sp.), butterfly orchid (Phalaenopsis spp.), and Chinese evergreen (Aglaonema spp.). Just think of how cool (and hopefully appropriate) it would be to give your sweetie an eternity plant on Valentine's Day.