This week's gardening tips from the Savvygardener.

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February 7, 2007

Just Teasin'...
I think Mother Nature was sending us a message yesterday. I think she was trying to tell us to be patient. We all know that spring will eventually arrive the question is "How much longer?" Of course if any of you are like me, patience is not one of your greatest virtues. At least we were given a teaser of what we can only hope is around the corner.

Sam Parker and I were delighted to take our walk yesterday. I loved feeling the sun shining on my face. I actually over-dressed and had to de-layer once we got home. I have fallen into a pattern of layering to stay warm both inside and outside. But yesterday was a nice surprise. Just a jacket. No gloves, hat or scarf. A sense of freedom I've not felt for sometime. Funny how when you take away the heaviest winter coat you own, snow pants, boots, scarves and turtle necks how much easier it becomes to move. Of course it is cold again today. It's a good thing I didn't pack away all of my winter gear. The extended forecast is simply more of the same, cold.

If you are looking to escape the frigid temperatures outside think about attending the Metropolitan Lawn & Garden Show this weekend at the American Royal Center. It starts Friday and runs through Sunday. My good friends John Bruntzel and Jan Olson of the Gard'n Wise Guys radio show will be entertaining gardeners with their gardening banter. Click here for a schedule of speakers. A good use of time since you can't be in the garden.

~ Shelly  

Seed Starting With Structure...
Starting more than three or four different varieties of seed indoors can get confusing if you're not organized. To keep from missing the start date for any of your seeds you might try our simple procedure: Organize your seed packets in piles based on the number of weeks before "last frost" to start them indoors. This should be indicated on the seed packet and can be found in our feature When To Start Seeds Indoors. Pick the date which you feel safe calling "last frost". We use the first full weekend in May. In our example we are now 11 weeks from the weekend we will transplant our seedlings. That means that by this weekend we will have already started any seeds that indicate starting dates nine weeks and higher. For the remainder of your seeds secure them together in their respective groups with a rubber band. For each group attach a sticky note with the date of the weekend they need to be started. Place the packets front-to-back, in order by starting date, in a small box. Each weekend remove the packets at the front of the box for starting. Next weekend's seeds are now at the front and awaiting your return in seven days.

Proper Rose Pruning...
Lots of gardeners are wondering if they missed their chance to prune their roses.  Fear not. Modern roses should be pruned just before the buds break dormancy after the last frost. Still plenty of time to think about it.

Rose pruning is the key to successful summer blooms. Prune roses back 25 percent if you want lots of medium-sized blooms. Prune back 50 percent if you want fewer, larger flowers.

Trim Now, Butterflies Later...
Butterfly bushes reward us all with great gatherings of butterflies every summer.  To make sure yours are in top shape for summer you need to trim them back to about 12 inches this time of year.  This helps promote a well shaped bush with larger flowers.

 


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Reading Roses...
Whether you're giving roses to your sweetheart or just planting some new ones in the garden this year it's always helpful to know what message you might be sending.

  • Red - Love, Respect
  • Deep Pink - Gratitude, Appreciation
  • Light Pink - Admiration, Sympathy
  • White - Reverence, Humility
  • Yellow - Joy, Gladness
  • Orange - Enthusiasm, Desire
  • Red & Yellow Blend - Gaiety, Joviality Pale
  • Blended Tones - Sociability, Friendship

Of course you should feel free to break the rules to accommodate a favorite color. If your valentine prefers yellow over red we suggest you stick with yellow.

Source

Tipping The Scales...
We've had lots of e-mails asking about effective control of scale on houseplants.  Because scale in indoor environments enjoys overlapping generations successful treatment will require two to three insecticide applications at l0-day intervals.  When feasible, large numbers of these scales can be physically dislodged by gently wiping the leaves with a dilute mixture of water and dishwashing detergent. You should combine manual and chemical control for best results.

Source

What's That Bug?
Here's a new find for us that we couldn't resist sharing. What's that Bug? is a comprehensive site dedicated to garden bugs of all shapes and sizes.  It's not as organized as we would prefer but the pictures and descriptions are pretty good.  See for yourself...

Winter Tree Clean-Up...
Late winter is a great time to prune many deciduous trees. Look over your plants now and remove dead, dying, unsightly parts of the tree, sprouts growing at or near the base of the tree trunk, crossed branches, and V-shaped crotches.

Finally...
"There seems to be so much more winter than we need this year."

~ Kathleen Norris

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