Finally we have a break in the frigid weather and can work in our gardens. Prune the seed capsules off the tips of your crepe myrtles to give larger bloom clusters this summer. Prune the dead blooms from Rose of Sharon. Prune butterfly bush down to about a foot from the ground. Even in the winter weed.
Clean your fireplaces and place the wood ashes around lilacs, roses, peonies, clematis, daffodils and vegetable garden. The ashes add both lime and potash to the soil. Do not put the ashes around your acid-loving plants.
The holidays are over, but don’t throw out your forced bulb flowers with the Christmas tree. Cut off the dead flower heads and place plant in a sunny indoor location. Every second watering add a half dose of fertilizer to the water. In the spring place your potted amaryllis outside and plant the other bulbs in your garden.
Poinsettia plants can also be reused each year. Keep the plant in a sunny location where the night time temperature is no colder than 60 degrees. The soil should be kept damp and fertilized lightly when new growth appears. When the temperature is warm enough, cut back the plant and place outside. In early October bring the plant indoors for 12 hours of darkness a day and in December the bracts will turn to color for Holidays.
It is not too soon to start forcing blooms from flowering shrubs and trees. Forsythia is especially easy. Also try crabapple, peach, plum, pussy willow, quince, winter jasmine and witch hazel.
Start planning your spring vegetable garden. Sow seeds of cool season vegetables, such as arugula, in indoor pots or trays. Also start seeds of lavender, chives, dill, rosemary, thyme and parsley. Seeds of peas (soak over night), lettuce, spinach and chard can be planted in your garden if protected with a cover of black fabric.
Also indoors start germinating seeds of Petunia, Portulaca, Salvia, Snapdragon and Verbena. All take 8 to 10 weeks before their seedlings are ready to be planted in your garden.=
Attend a flower show. The Maymont Flower & Garden Show is Feb. 18th through Feb. 21st at the Greater Richmond Convention Center. For more info 800-332-3976 or http://www.macevents.com/
Feb. 28th through March 7th is The 2010 Philadelphia Flower Show “Passport to the World. Displays will represent India, Brazil, the Netherlands, South Africa, New Zealand and Singapore. For more info http://www.theflowershow.com/
Study your garden catalogues and plan for the arriving warm weather.