1 - 31 - 2011
Yesterday it was a balmy Spring-like temperature of 74 degrees – how can this be – Spring is still 2 months away! Mother Nature was obviously just teasing us with what’s to come, as today is 34 degrees and we are heading down to single digit temperatures this week. Knowing that it was going to be super cold this week, I took advantage of the warm weather and gave all of my thirsty outdoor pots and containers a long drink of water. The English Roses also called out to me for a deep drink and I happily obliged them.
In my opinion, February is the absolute most important month on the garden calendar because the timing is so critical with so many garden chores – get the timing right and the results will be optimal – miss the timing on certain chores and the outcome can really be dismal.
Pruning is probably the most important chore to be done between the middle of February and early March. I always tell my gardening buddies and garden clubs – mark your calendar on Valentine’s Day with the following garden tasks…if you do them you will be rewarded for months and your plants will be much healthier as a result of your paying attention to the calendar.
I planted these paperwhites bulbs about 3 weeks ago! The second wave comes up even faster – I think because they get a longer day of sunshine…their fragrance fills my home with thoughts of Spring!
Top Things to do in February
- Prune to keep your plants tight but still natural – avoid hedges and the lollipop look.
- Please don’t commit Crepe Myrtle murder by chopping off your tree form Crepes – only prune to edit suckers and errant limbs – let the growth continue upwards to achieve the graceful habit they will provide.
- The best time to prune evergreens – Hollies, Yew, Yaupon, Boxwood, Laurel, Pines of all varieties is now.
- Prune roses – shrub roses should be severely pruned – I keep mine around 18” – and remove all dead wood. Climbing roses should be pruned just to be kept in the space you want them in.
- Now is the best time to provide support for your climbing rose canes – they are already setting buds and before they begin to put more buds out get them tucked away into their trellis systems.
- Apply systemic food and herbicide to bases of roses – I love to use the Bayer 2-in-1 product.
- Apply Ironite other organic products to cool season grasses around the middle of February – they will be emerald green in March – the perfect time for your cool season lawn to look lush and green.
- Prune deciduous trees – this is the perfect time to see the bones of the tree…get suckers and limbs interfering with other limbs out of there.
- This is a good time to assess the life cycle of your trees. Are you hanging on to an old Elm tree long past its prime? There are so many wonderful varieties of trees out there just begging to be planted in their place.
- Cut back ornamental grasses – liriope, mondo, ‘Sweet Flag’ and the taller varieties like pampas and fountain grass. Cutting these back in March means cutting back fresh spring growth.
- Begin cutting back the perennials in your garden beds – finalize this in early March.
- Begin garden cleanup in flower beds later this month.
- Apply a dose of food to pansies and spring flowering perennials like candy tuft, dianthus, and creeping phlox – they will really benefit after the winter months.
- Order bare root roses from rose sources like Antique Rose Emporium, David Austin Roses, and Heirloom Roses.
- Continue to water when the weather doesn’t cooperate – but turn off your automatic sprinkler system when the temperatures are below freezing.
- Look at your garden design – next month is a great time to tweak or modify it.
- Clean your garden tools.
- Enjoy the hint of warmer days to come.
Best of the Season
- Daffodils – with their whimsical trumpet faces – smiling at the sun!
- Forsythia – un-pruned and naturalized the way it should be.
- Crocus – one of the earliest bulbs to bloom in the Spring.
Happy Gardening -
All My Best -
1 - 13 - 2011
I love January – it’s brrrr cold outside and there are no garden chores – maybe just planning for a beautiful Spring. I did turn in all the Spring flower orders to our wonderful grower…hard to believe they will start seedlings this month.
January is one of the months as a gardener that you can literally do nothing and not feel guilty about it. Of course you have to pay a little attention to water if Mother Nature doesn’t smile on us with rain or snow. But other than that, we can just relax and enjoy the cold days with a hot cup of tea and leftover treats from the holidays.
The garden and seed catalogs will begin arriving in your mailbox, as well as other garden and outdoor living catalogs. It’s fun to see what’s new with the trends in these. Wayside Gardens will tempt us with new species and varieties. We can just file these away for now – enjoy this quiet month.
Top Things to do in January
• As little as possible – you deserve a guilt-free break
Best of the Season
• Red Twig Dogwood, Deciduous Hollies laden with berries – and cardinals! I have a friend who has a special little buddy that shows up on the window seal of her living room – she has been putting his treats out on top of a stone pillar – he is fat and happy – and beautiful!
Holidays this year in Sweden – winter wonderland – breathtakingly beautiful!
Happy New Year Everyone!
Happy Gardening -
All My Best -
I have been counting the days until the Friday after Thanksgiving – when we stop doing all things hectic in our lives and take the time to dress our home for the holidays. It used to be much more time-consuming – those years when it would take a full day just to twist and tie the hundreds of tiny white lights around each branch of the Christmas tree. That was before we discovered the pre-lit – tree that goes together in 30 minutes – maybe it’s just too easy – no it’s wonderful! It’s all about ornaments anyway!
My all time best holiday tradition is setting out all of the special photos of my daughter Kelley sitting on Santa’s knee. Her first picture screaming with Santa is when she was 11 months old – it is my favorite…there are a few others where she seems to look terrorized – but then there’s a serenity and happiness on her face as she sits there with anticipation of a special toy that will surely come.
Years ago when I started this tradition I bought 15 frames with a wintery motif – they have been perfect to put her Santa pictures in…She stopped indulging me at 10 – and of course the pictures of her with Santa grow more precious every year.
Here is one spot I used some paperwhites – after 4 weeks they are almost ready to bloom – I can’t wait for the fragrance to fill this room.
Years ago I began a collection of very special Christmas ornaments called House of Hatten. They are very whimsical and special – and not made any more. I stopped putting them on my tree after a few fell and broke – so now they just go in this large bowl with some Christmas greens.
We love to put these reindeers dressed in their white fur on an antique mirror – we keep this Swedish crystyal bowl filled with fresh flowers – and for Christmas we opt for this color scheme instead of the more traditional green and red.
Top Things to do in December
- Definitely time to get your tulips and other spring flowering bulbs in so they have time to put on healthy root growth for Spring – next month is too late.
- This is a good time to add small evergreen shrubs and trees to your pots if you want them to look good through the winter months. The nurseries have a wonderful selection of them to choose from.
- Water your flower beds, pots and flower boxes throughout the winter months – especially before extreme cold temperatures – dry roots don’t do well in extreme cold.
- Now is a great time to plant new trees and even most landscaping plants – the nurseries are stocked to the brim with them.
- Now that the leaves have fallen from your trees this is a good time to assess whether or not they should be pruned this winter as you can see their limb structure more clearly.
- Enjoy the holidays outdoors by dressing your outdoor living areas with pillows and blankets in pretty wintery plaids and flannels – summer is over!
Best in Show – the holidays as seen through the eyes of children and better yet grandchildren.
Our own Santa’s elf - Molly Nora.
Happy Gardening -
All My Best -
November begins the tranquil time of the year as a gardener. Tulips and spring bulbs should be arriving any day and once they arrive time it will be time to get them in. I like to have pansies in by the end of October and if you love a lush fall and spring lawn, then the task of over seeding with blends of fescue and rye should definitely be done by now for best results.
You can continue to upgrade your landscaping this fall through November; in fact the nurseries are bringing in new plant stock every day. You will have to wait another month before fresh trees come in. The best time to plant trees is now through March for the very best results.
To be honest – I’m ready to get out of the garden – I want to just sit outside and soak up the incredible weather we have been having and enjoy my outdoor fireplace and the smell of oak and pinon throughout our neighborhood.
Although my Karen Adams calendar has two cute acorns on it this month….I’m fast forwarding to Thanksgiving weekend – and my tradition of taking the 3 days after Thanksgiving to decorate my home for the holidays. There’s one thing I do the very first of November to really maximize my Christmas décor as soon as my tree goes up and that’s to plant paperwhites the first of November.
Some people detest the fragrance of paperwhites – but my husband, daughter and I love the smell – and we want it everywhere in our house during December and January. My daughter has loved this tradition and often helped me when she was young….it is so easy and the reward is huge.
My favorite dish or container to use for paperwhites are these cute blue and white exports from China. No hole in the bottom –as paperwhites will drink quarts of water before they are finished.
I like to buy my paperwhites aka Narcissus from the same company that I get my tulips from…but sometimes I’m just not that organized – but fear not - just go to your local big box store or nursery and they all have Narcissus and Amaryllis bulbs now. When I get them home I empty them all out into a large pot to make the planting go faster.
I like and recommend using small river rock at the base of your pot about ¾ filled – then add a nice potting mix….place your bulbs at the top of the container like this….pack them in tight.
This is the perfect size of river rock – but don’t worry any size will work. I always tell my husband we need to have river rock in certain utility areas of our yard where I don’t want to mess with a lawn or flower beds…this is my secret way of having an unlimited supply of this – I just love to use it for forcing bulbs. Top off the pots with the river rock - try to squeeze them in all around the bulbs….the reason is that the paperwhites become quite top heavy with lots of growth – the river rock helps weight them down into the container. Fill the rocks in around the top of the bulbs – you are securing the bulbs with the river rock so don’t be stingy with the rock.
Next water slowly and let the bulb sit in water….this will begin the cycle of root growth. We are having really warm weather this week – so I’m going to let them sit a few days on my potting bench – once it cools down I will bring them indoors and let them sit on a sunny shelf over my kitchen sink.
I’ll post some pictures once the vibrant green growth starts emerging from this creature looking bulb…it won’t be long now….I can already picture these sitting on my kitchen window sill – loaded with white blossoms….harkening Christmas!
Top Things to do in November
- Finish up plantings of pansies, cabbage and kale.
- If you haven’t ordered bulbs – it’s not to late – but hurry – don’t miss the opportunity to have a glorious spring next year.
- Finalize the task of preparing your lawn for an over seeding of fescue and rye blend – this must now be done asap – last month was better.
- Replace landscape plants that didn’t make it through the summer – now is a great time to do this.
- Begin a first round of forced bulbs for Thanksgiving – plant the second round after Thanksgiving and you will have continuous bulbs in bloom in your home from Thanksgiving through mid January. Narcissus (paperwhites), Amaryllis, and hyacinths are best performers for indoor forcing.
Best in Show – our dear friends at a recent wedding in Salt Lake City – we ventured up to Park City, Utah to take in the Aspen trees at their absolute prime!!!!
The aspens were quaking in the breeze – with the sunlight coming through them it was a beautiful – site – this was a huge grove of aspen.
We spotted this friendly bear in downtown Park City – and had a tickle hugging him!
Happy Gardening -
All My Best -
My Karen Adams calendar has a cute witch’s hat on this month…but I’m only thinking about gardens and the transition from summer to fall. So many people think that Spring is when you plant landscape plants and plan gardens…but there is no better time than right now. Your garden has no chance to be fabulous next Spring unless you implement some key elements that will contribute to that wow – Easter parade yard next March and April. The best part of all, is that now the nurseries restock with wonderful fresh plants from California and Oregon, the greenhouses are stocked with fresh and fragrant pansies and the offers from bulb companies abound.
I tell my garden friends and clients that timing is everything with gardening – and this month is the critical month to nail timing! Beautiful lawns of lush rye and fescue, planters filled with colorful pansies, tulips and daffodils in all their glory and trees filled with spring flowers – plan for all of this now – that’s right October.
The photo on the top is from my backyard one week after the Bermuda was scalped and over seeded with a hardy blend of rye and fescue
This photo is a week and half after over seeding – notice the peat moss? It is the most incredible product to use when over seeding it is wonderful for leveling and filling in dry patches or other areas after you have over seeded. It has an inherent ability to stay moist which is what you want for your seed. Once you over seed your lawn it must not dry out….couple of weeks later and you are ready to have it mowed! This is my secret weapon for doggy spots. . . just keep a container of peat moss and grass seed if it stays moist you will have new grass in one week.
Not quite two weeks after over seeding – and next Spring it will look even more lush and green!
Remember I said I would post pictures of my English roses if they bloomed again this fall…well here they are….Look at these David Austin “Abraham Darby”….not quite the Spring flush – but beautiful new fresh and fragrant blossoms – I love the cool autumn weather.
And my favorite companion plant to every rose – clematis vines! This is good old fashioned “Jackmanii” – in all his purple glory! It looked just like this last May – now with the cool October weather it comes back to life in a wonderful and surprising way.
Top Things to do in October
- Enjoy the best weather of the year.
- Fire up your outdoor fireplace, pit or chimenea – throw on some fresh pinon for good measure.
- If you want green grass during the fall, early winter and early spring – and have a Bermuda grass lawn, scalp and over seed with a blend of rye and fescue this month for best results.
- Before you remove your summer annuals – walk through your gardens and assess the winners and losers – make a mental note, take a picture, or jot this down in your garden journal.
- Continue to enjoy the hummingbirds and butterflies - your garden should be a swarming with them.
- Don’t forget to get your tulip order placed – they go in next month.
- Begin summer annual clean-up and removal – best to get pansies in by the end of the month.
Absolute best in show this month the fabulous gingko tree!
Happy Gardening -
All My Best -