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February 21, 2007

Who Could Ask For More?
I guess it would be ridiculous to start this week's newsletter with anything but how delighted I am that the weather has made a change for the better. The past three days have been exhilarating with temperatures in the high 50's. The local meteorologists say we might even see 60's by the weekend. And not only that, I finally took the Christmas greens down - the ones that have been hanging outside since mid-December! I do not want any signs of winter lingering any longer. A couple more warm days and all of the snow will have melted away. It kind of makes me want to burst into song!

I am pretty sure that you all share my excitement by the recent change in the weather. We are already getting emails asking "When can I start planting?" Even though we have seen a dramatic change in the weather this last week, don't be fooled. Winter is not over and we will probably see one or more snowfalls before April. So my suggestion would be - prepare yourself. Make a list of the area(s) that you want to focus on. If you are contemplating a huge project start calling landscape companies now. If you wait too long you will be disappointed that no one will be available when you want or need them. Being organized is key. So even though you can't play in the soil just yet, get outside and tidy things up. Rake leaves (if you don't have any, I have plenty), clean gutters, clean your windows. All of these chores will allow you to be outside soaking up the warmer temps and for now, who could ask for anything more?

~ Shelly  

Too Early Bloomers?
What a difference a week makes! Now that the snow has faded and warm weather is upon us you may soon see adventurous bulbs pushing through the ground - especially snow drops, crocus, and early daffodils.  Keep an eye out!  Matted leaves and dead grass left over from fall may create a barrier to these upstarts.  Help them a little by gently raking away any debris and allowing the foliage and flowers to break through the soil more easily.

Shrub Pruning Calendar...
When we started Savvygardener.com one of the things we wanted to provide was information that was truly useful to area gardeners based on our weather, our climate, our everything.  A great example of this is one of our most popular and informative articles -
The Shrub Pruning Calendar.  A Savvygardener.com exclusive, this is the Kansas City area gardener's definitive guide to when, and when not, to prune a wide variety of shrubs.  Check it out!  We'll bet it answers some questions and clears up a lot of mystery.

Get Out And Cut...
With this nice warm weather think about getting outside to do renewal pruning. Find those shrubs that have become skinny and leafless on the bottom with all growth at the top. Remove a third of the branches, pruning almost to the ground. You may lose some bloom, but this job is so much easier to accomplish when the branches are bare.

Source

 


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All America Roses...
All America Rose Selections has selected their 2007 winners.  They are Rainbow Knockout (coral pink), Strike It Rich (deep golden yellow), and Moondance (white). 

AARS has been testing roses since 1938. Over the years, the program has evolved into a sophisticated process with a network of Official Test Gardens within select Public Gardens throughout the United States. Every AARS winning rose completes an extensive two-year trial program where it's judged on everything from disease resistance to flower production to color to fragrance.

Whiteflies and Houseplants...
Whiteflies seem to be prevalent and attack houseplants at this time. If infected plants are moved to the garden in the spring, the whiteflies can spread to other plants. Control them with insecticidal soap applied to the underside of the leaves. This must be done every few weeks.

Source

A Clean Start...
Here's another important tip for seed starters.  Make sure you thoroughly wash last year's plastic seed-starting containers.  Believe me it makes a difference!  And if your seedlings have had disease problems in the past, you'll need to use a mixture containing 10 percent household bleach and water to really sterilize the containers.

Begonias, By Golly...
Savvygardeners who want to have tuberous begonias for summer-long flowering in pots, beds, or hanging baskets outside should start the tubers indoors during late February or early March.  Sprout the tubers by placing them, hollow side up, fairly close together in shallow, well-drained pans.  Use a mix of equal parts perlite, sphagnum, peat moss, and vermiculite; or chopped sphagnum moss and perlite.  This should be kept damp (not soggy) in a shady window with a temperature in the lower 60s.  Transplant the tubers to pots or baskets when growth starts, normally within 3 weeks.  Place them outside only after all threat of frost has passed.

Source

Finally...
"Every novice gardener made the mistake of wanting rewards at once, and she smiled to recognize the failing in herself. But recognition didn't stop her from pursuing what she wanted."

~ Rosie Thomas

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