~ February 20, 2008 ~
Planning & Preparation...
Hmm, it's still cold out. Chance of snow tomorrow, blah, blah, blah. That about sums up the weather portion of this editorial
so on to the next topic.
Let's talk about planning and preparation. Do you have a project on your spring or summer to do list?
If so, now is the time for planning. Start by talking with landscape professionals, people who are known in the industry.
People who are reliable and deliver a product you desire at a price that fits within your budget. I will tell you from first-hand
experience that there are a lot of people and companies out there willing to take your money. Be savvy, choose someone
you want to work with. Any business person will tell you that businesses are built on relationships. Prepare a list of questions.
Walk the area(s) you are interested in changing. Take notes and listen to what they are saying. Being prepared as a customer
will save you time and money right from the start. In the end it makes the project easier for everyone involved. As my friend
Cole Welch always says," Plan the work and work the plan". Great advice!
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.
All America Rose Winners...
All America Rose Selections has selected
their 2008 winners. They are Dream Come True (yellow blushed ruby red),
and Mardi Gras (yellow-orange).
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.
Too Early Bloomers?
With some of the coldest weather
behind us (cross your fingers!), 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.
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.
Spring Into Sweet Peas...
Sweet peas are perfect for gardeners who
can't wait for spring. They can go into the ground any time the
ground isn't wet from early March to late April. They'll wait
until conditions are favorable to germinate. Top performers in
our area include:
Little Marvel, Green Arrow, Frosty,
Knight, Sparkle, Sugar Bon or Sugar Snap
Thin-podded Oriental types – often called
snow peas – broaden the possibilities to include the Dwarf
Grey Sugar and Mammoth Sugar varieties
Peas usually do best where you can plant two
to three rows, 4 to 6 inches apart, to allow the weak, spindly
vines to support each other. Otherwise, you generally need a
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.
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.
"I suppose it is the same with
everything in life that one really cares
about, and you must not, any of you,
be surprised if you have moments in
your gardening life of such profound
depression and disappointment that
you will almost wish you had been
content to leave everything alone
and have no garden at all"
~ C. W. Earle