Take advantage of the large range of fresh, well-grown roses now available. Whether you buy them at your local garden store or from a mail-order source, January and February are the ideal months to plant them. Begin by selecting a sunny, well-drained location. Roses have become highly popular as colorful shrubs in the landscape. Dependable old selections include China roses such as ‘Old Blush’ (pink), ‘Cramoisi Supérieur’ (red), ‘Ducher’ (white), ‘Mutabilis’ (mingled pink, red, and yellow), and ‘Martha Gonzales’ (red). Group these in single-color drifts of three or more. The Knock Out Series provides a fresh source of tough shrub roses in red, pink, or pink and yellow. Check plant sizes as you make your garden plan. For shrub use and cut flowers, consider ‘Mrs. B.R. Cant’ (silvery pink), ‘Belinda’s Dream’ (pink), and ‘Souvenir de la Malmaison’ (pink). A great source for mail-order roses in Texas is The Antique Rose Emporium, www.antiqueroseemporium.com.
Editor’s pick―Has working in your yard 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.
North and East
Magnolias―Deciduous magnolias are great sources of early-spring color in our area. Favorite choices include tulip tree (Magnolia x soulangeana) with pink and white blooms, star magnolia (M. stellata) with creamy white and pink blooms, and bigleaf magnolia (M. macrophylla) with white blooms. Magnolias prefer neutral to slightly acid soil. They all thrive and bloom in partially wooded areas.
Conifers―Evergreen conifers come in a variety of sizes and colors. They can be used as specimens, evergreen screens, or accent plants. Large ones include Atlas cedar (Cedrus atlantica), Colorado blue spruce (Picea pungens), and Eastern red cedar (Juniperus virginiana).
Central, West, and South
Vegetables―Now is a prime time for planting vegetables. Carrots, spinach, turnips, mustard greens, beets, and radishes can all be seeded at this time. Begin by selecting a sunny, well-drained location, and till several inches of organic material (such as peat, compost, or composted bark) into the top 8 to 10 inches of soil. Add fertilizer such as Miracle-Gro Organic Choice All Purpose Plant Food at the rate recommended on the label.
Central, East, and South
Spring annuals―Add annuals such as pansies, snapdragons, calendulas, and sweet alyssums to accent bulb plantings. Petunias such as the Wave Series or old-fashioned selections tend to last longer than the large- or double-flowering kinds.