Gardening by the Yard
By Tom Corbin
A Fairlington Gardener
January 2005 Gardening Tips
In spite of the teasing of the recent spring-like weather, there is little to be done in flower borders and patios during these bleak months. Except for an occasional foray outside to pick up sticks and debris, to remove some spent plant tops as weather permits, or to observe the winter patterns of nature, gardeners are pretty much "house bound"!
Of course, we have noticed that the tips of spring bulbs are slowly emerging and that some buds (especially those of maples, pussy willows, deciduous magnolias, and camellias) are swelling, holding the promise of spring.
It won’t be long before nurseries will offer the first of the spring plants – yellow blooming Mahonia, primroses, helleborus, heather, and spring pansies. These are so tempting, and if you have a protected spot, there is no reason not to indulge! Just make sure the plants have been “hardened off” (conditioned to withstand the cold) and are not directly from the greenhouse.Check Out Garden Centers
Garden centers still have supplies of paper white narcissus and amaryllis bulbs to brighten the indoors. Just follow the instructions available at the center and, voila!, in a few weeks bright blossoms!
This is the best time to plan the spring/ summer border by exploring those gardening websites that we were too busy to pursue before. It is also a good time to read garden catalogues, many of which are free for the asking. Even if you don’t order from catalogues, they are a good source of gardening information.Catalogs - A Great Resource
Some good catalogue and internet sources are:
Some outside chores which can be safely completed now include:
- Gently reset any plants which have “heaved” out of the ground due to freezing and thawing.
- Cut down the tops of perennial grasses before new growth begins.
- Prune summer flowering shrubs. Do not prune azaleas, hydrangeas, forsythia, etc. until after flowering. (Removing deadwood from these shrubs is ok.)
- Apply a light fertilizer to fall-planted pansies when the weather allows and remove the spent flowers.
- Water any fall- planted trees/ shrubs when temperatures are above freezing and there has been insufficient rainfall.
- Plan the spring/ summer border and include at least one new plant which you have not tried before.
- Remove the old leaves of helleborus to allow the emerging flower buds room to grow.
- Prune crape myrtles. (Note: these shrubs tolerate severe pruning and still produce many flowers.)
- Consider beginning a garden journal to record your gardening year!
Maymont Flower & Garden Show
The 16th annual Maymont Flower and Garden Show (
) will be held at the Greater Richmond Convention Center, Richmond, VA 400 E. Marshall St.on February 24 – 27. More information may be found at http://www.maymont.org or 1-804-358-7166. Looking for a week end day trip? This one fills the bill!
Check out the gardening feature on HGTV (Home and Garden TV) http://www.hgtv.com for tips and advice! You may also access the site from the Fairlington gardening page at http://www.fairlington.org/gardenadvisor.htm
Photo from Tom's Garden
Commons Resident Guy L. Adams
(Click on Photo for More Images)
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