January 2009: Around Your Garden

Balance Edition- Our Garden Editor offers tips and ideas for you.
Gene B. Bussell

Pansy Care Primer
 The happy blooms of these plants can get a little weary with cold weather. Jump to their rescue by removing spent blossoms and trimming leggy, discolored foliage with scissors. (Deadhead regularly to encourage prolific blooms.) Water your plants well, and let them drain. Then use a liquid fertilizer such as Schultz All Purpose Liquid Plant Food 10-15-10, or try an organic kind such as SeaCrop Liquid Kelp 0-1-1. These flowers love the sunshine and need at least five hours of full sun every day.

Look at your flowerbeds. Are they being shaded by nearby evergreens? Simply cutting a few branches can let more light onto your beds. If your containers of flowers are not blooming, move them to a new spot that receives more sun.

Fragrant Shrubs
Add perfume to your yard. Shrubs such as wintersweet (Chimonanthus praecox) offer delicate blossoms and a light scent. Winter daphne (Daphne odora) is an elegant evergreen with powerfully fragrant blooms. Winter honeysuckle (Lonicera fragrantissima) offers a familiar sweet scent. To enjoy their aromas, place them near entryways to your garden. Look for them at garden centers, or order from Woodlanders nursery, www.woodlanders.net.

For the Birds
Attract cardinals, chickadees, titmice, and finches with bird feeders. White proso millet, Nyjer seeds, and sunflower seeds will appeal to a wide range of birds. Hang feeders at least 5 feet off the ground and 10 feet away from vegetation and structures to deter predators. Water for drinking and bathing is also appreciated, with running water being the best.

Vegetables
In the Lower and Coastal South, continue to harvest the heads of broccoli and cauliflower. Use clippers or a small paring knife for this task. You can also gather the tasty leaves of collards and kale from your garden. The cooler weather only sweetens the flavor. Harvest regularly by pinching off the leaves from the bottom up on collards and kale, so the plants will keep growing new ones.

Houseplants
With shorter days and cooler temperatures, your inside plants are slowing down for the season. Take a break yourself, and go easy on the watering and feeding. Most houseplants like for the soil to become slightly dry between waterings.

Editor’s Pick
Has working in your garden taken a toll on your skin? Try some of the Earth-friendly products from Burt’s Bees. Use them to hydrate, repair, and protect your skin. Look for them at your local drugstore, or visit www.burtsbees.com for a store locator.