February 2009: Around Your Garden
Brighten your landscape quickly by adding transplants of snapdragons, pansies, Iceland poppies, violas, stocks, and petunias. Also try colorful foliage such as Swiss chard, ornamental kales, and cabbages. Select plants in 4-inch pots, and space them 8 to 12 inches apart. For borders and beneath taller plants, consider masses of fragrant sweet alyssums in white, purple, pink, and blends.
- Editor’s pick―Make pruning easier with quality tools. Whether you are right-handed or left-handed, with small hands or big, there is a Felco pruner made for you. Also be sure to try a Felco saw. Purchase them from www.felcostore.com.
- Fruit trees―Cutting back fruit trees such as plums and peaches invigorates them and lets sunlight reach the interior of the trees. Remove crossing limbs, and shorten upright growth. Hand pruners are best for limbs as thick as a pencil. Lopping shears and pruning saws are good for bigger jobs.
North and East
- Vines―Plant vines for garden color. Carolina jessamine is a native evergreen with fragrant, yellow flowers in spring. Crossvine, another native, has brownish-orange flowers and quickly covers fences. With white blooms, Confederate jasmine is great for trellises.
Central, East, and South
- Vegetables―Plant potatoes, lettuce (shown at left), broccoli, parsley, turnips, mustard greens, and kale. These will all mature before hot weather begins. Select a sunny, well-drained location, and till in 3 to 5 inches of organic material such as compost or composted pine bark before planting.
- Watering―During prolonged dry or windy conditions, monitor moisture of shrubs and trees, especially evergreens. Water plants regularly. Replenish mulches to reduce water loss.
Central, West, and South
- Perennials―Plant some of the new coneflowers (Echinacea sp.) such as ‘Fragrant Angel’ (white), ‘Rubinstern’ (dark rosy pink), and ‘Kim’s Knee High’ (rosy purple). Try selections of mealycup sage (Salvia farinacea) such as ‘Henry Duelberg’ (violet-blue) and ‘Augusta Duelberg’ (white). Lantanas add months of heat-resistant color. ‘New Gold’ (bright gold) and ‘Dallas Red’ (dark red) along with purple or white forms of trailing lantana (Lantana montevidensis) are dependable.
- Bold flowers―The big blooms of angel’s trumpets are a nice accent in the garden, and colors range from pure white to yellow, peach, and pink. The large, dangling trumpets have great fragrance, especially in the evening. Good choices include ‘Charles Grimaldi,’ ‘Shredded White,’ and ‘Cypress Gardens.’ Angel’s trumpets prefer afternoon shade and protection from wind.