~ February 18, 2009 ~
I am not the only one restless for spring. Have you seen the
buds on the trees
and the many
bulbs coming up from the ground? The ground is warming up and along
with that warm-up is the awakening of plant life. While walking Sam Parker (the
family dog) I have seen many perennials bursting through the mulch reaching for
the sun and its warmth. It is too early for them to be stirring. I say that
like I have some control over this process. Mother Nature will proceed with her
wacky ways of fooling us all. Her attempts at teasing us is discomforting and will
probably lead to a few trees and plants blooming prematurely. Of course this is
nothing new to our area. We have seen this many times before and watched many
magnolias bloom early only to be burnt by a hard freeze. I really hate it when
that happens. Unfortunately we are all at her mercy.
I am still trying to get in the swing of blogging daily.
The Savvygardener Community
is a place to converse with local and national gardeners. It is so interesting
to talk with other gardeners from all over the world. Yep, the world. We
presently have two gardeners from France in our community. I am having so much
Take a moment to join me. You'll be glad you did!
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
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
Pink Promise (a hybrid tea),
Cinco de Mayo
(a bushy floribunda), and
Carefree Spirit (a deep cherry and white landscape rose).
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 the temperatures shooting up and down as they have been lately 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
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...
This time of year whiteflies can become more prevalent and attack your
houseplants. Worse yet, if infected plants are moved to the garden in
the spring, the whiteflies can spread to other plants in the garden. Control
them now with insecticidal soap applied to the underside of the leaves every
"O, to take what we love inside
to carry within us an orchard,
to eat not only the skin, but the shade,
not only the sugar, but the days,
to hold the fruit in our hands,
There are days we live...
from joy to joy to joy, from wing to wing,
from blossom to blossom to impossible blossom,
to sweet impossible blossom."
~ Li-Young Lee, from "From Blossoms"