February Gardening Tips for the South
These are some of the most beautiful additions to any garden. Climbing roses such as ‘Blossomtime' (pink), ‘Zépherine Drouhin' (hot pink), and ‘Climbing Pinkie' (pink) are moderate climbers that work well on fences and trellises around 10 feet high or less. For taller structures, use more vigorous roses such as ‘Mermaid' (pale yellow), ‘Dortmund' (red), ‘Peggy Martin' (pink), ‘New Dawn' (pale pink), and ‘Albéric Barbier' (white).
- Tip: Incorporate organic matter, such as composted manure or peat, to help the soil retain moisture and improve drainage and fertility. Roses prefer a sunny location (six to eight hours a day).
- Sources we love: The Antique Rose Emporium, www.antiqueroseemporium.com and Petals From the Past, www.petalsfromthepast.com.
Quince, forsythia, cherries, winter honeysuckle, and deciduous magnolias will bloom indoors with a little help. Choose stems with flowerbuds that have begun to swell. Cut stems at an angle, and place in a bucket of water. Indoors, recut stems, and place in a container of warm water with a floral preservative. Place in a cool spot in indirect light. When you begin to see color in the flowerbuds, move them to a brighter room. Enjoy.
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 try a Felco saw. You'll be amazed by how well it cuts.
Be smart, and save yourself a lot of work by spot controlling weeds in dormant warm- season lawns. Apply a broadleaf weed control, such as Weed-B-Gon or Weed Stop. To prevent crabgrass seeds from making a home in your lawn, apply a granular crabgrass preventer now such as Sta-Green Crab-Ex or Scotts Halts.
Hellebores are a welcome reminder that spring is near. You'll find the largest selection of these evergreen perennials now. They prefer light shade and fertile, well-drained soil. They are best suited for the Upper, Middle, and Lower South.
Cut back the foliage of your liriope and mondo grass before new leaves emerge. Cut small plantings by hand or with a string trimmer. For larger ones, use your lawn mower with the blade set at 21⁄2 to 3 inches high. Be careful not to cut too short (scalp), as you may damage this season's new leaves. Check the height of new growth by gently pulling apart the existing leaves near the base of the plant.