Dear Gardening Friends,
Our weather has been anything but consistent. We have snow cover here in the south towns while the north towns have very little. For those of you longing for spring there are some great gardening events coming up. Details are at the end of this newsletter.
- Due to the lack of consistent snow cover, it is important to protect your tender and newly planted perennials. If you didn’t gather pine boughs after Christmas, you can use leaves or get some straw.
- With all the temperature fluctuations this winter there is bound to be some heaving of plants. Do not just step on the root base to reposition them. If the soil is not frozen carefully dig the uprooted plant back into the soil and cover with mulch for added protection. If the soil is too frozen to replant use a thick covering of mulch (leaves work well) to protect the roots until replanting is possible.
- If you are having ice build-up in driveways and sidewalks be cautious of what you use to melt the ice. Salt can be very damaging to the soil and plants.
- It would be wise to shovel the black nasty salt laden “gunk” in the driveway somewhere other than garden beds. My back garden abuts the driveway so this is always an issue for me. I used to wonder why the plants along the drive never did well! It’s a little more effort, but worth it.
- It’s a good time to pick up sticks and debris.
- If you didn’t clean and sharpen your tools last fall now is a perfect time. They will be ready to go when you need them in the spring.
- Usually this would be a good time to prune but with the probability of more freezing weather I would suggest waiting till the temperatures moderate a little, especially for shrubs. If you prune now and we get a bout of freezing temps it may cause some die back on the newly pruned stems which you would need to be pruned back come spring.
- The exception to this is any tree or shrub that has been damaged or broken. Those branches should be removed.
- The ideal time to prune non spring blooming trees & shrubs is while they are still dormant and their buds have not begun opening.
- For details on pruning specific plants check online or contact me for a pruning consultation.
- Now is a good time to spend some time with your houseplants. A mid- winter “shower” in the sink or bathtub would wash off the accumulated dust and make for a healthier plant.
- Now that the days are getting longer you can resume a light plant food application. If you use fertilizer look for a natural rather than chemical formula. Just read the ingredients.
- You can also start spring repotting houseplants that have become pot bound. If the water drains right through when you water it or if the roots are pushing the plant out of the pot, those are good signs that the plant is pot bound.
- Another sign to indicate repotting is crusty salt build up on the top of the soil. This residue may be on the outside of terra cotta pots as well. The pots can be scrubbed off before repotting.
- Also check for aphids, mealybugs and other houseplant pests. A good soapy water bath is a solution to many problems.
Educational Opportunities: There are lots of events coming up that will
help you learn and get into the mood for spring.
MG Education Day:
Cornell Cooperative Extension of Erie County Master Gardener Program Presents Virtual 2021 Education Day Saturday, March 13 from 9:00am – 12:45pm. This year’s Education Day will be a shot in the arm for the winter blahs as well as being very entertaining and educational. There will be 2 presentations:
Rick Darke - Co-author with Doug Tallamy of The Living Landscape will present Dynamic Design and Stewardship of Living Landscapes.
This richly illustrated talk will present ideas for plant selection, design and care of home landscapes that are beautiful and joyfully livable. Our garden is our home habitat. For most of us, it is the landscape we spend the most time in. When designed to support a great variety of life, it will be full of surprise, and add intrigue, beauty, and interest to every day. The presentation will feature Rick's own high-resolution photos of gardens and designs that have proven to be practical, durable, conserving, and affordable.
Paul Zammit, professor at Niagara College in Ontario, past Director of Horticulture at the Toronto Botanical Gardens and international speaker will present: Planning and Planting for All Seasons.
Who puts a garden to bed, and why would you? For Paul, gardens do not have a yearly start or end date. He believes that they transition from one season of display to the next, including winter. Each season has its shining stars and Paul will highlight some of his favorites during his lively and energetic presentation. Join Paul, as he shares his passion for plants and other possible garden additions while taking us on a journey through the seasons where he will remind us how we can all plan and plant a garden with year-round appeal.
The schedule for the day will be:
9:00 – 9:15: Welcome and introductions
9:15 – 10:30: Paul Zammit presentation
10:30 – 11:00: Q&A for Paul Zammit
11:00 – 12:15: Rick Darke presentation
12:00 – 12:45: Q&A for Rick Darke, Closing comments
Fees: Erie County Master Gardener - $25; Other Master Gardener &CNLP - $30; Public - $35
Registration is required! Register at erie.cce.cornell.edu/events .
Communities in Bloom Spring Garden Classes
These classes will also be held virtually via ZOOM. There are 3 sessions, you can attend one or all three.
Tuesday, February 9, 6:30 – 8:00 pm - What Gardeners Need to Know About Insects and Diseases – Covers the most common insect and disease problems and what to do about them.
Thursday, February 18, 6:30 – 8:00 pm - Growing Fruits and Vegetables. Whether you are a beginner or well experienced vegetable gardener this program is for you.
Saturday, February 27, 10:00 – 11:30 am - Meatballs, Volcanoes and Other Garden Malpractices – How to avoid the most common and damaging gardening practices.
Since both programs will be virtual, we are not bound by space limitations. Please share this information on Facebook or other social media. The more the merrier!!
If you want to learn how to prune or get a jump on planning for this season’s garden, contact me for a garden consult. We would meet outside and wearing masks. I can help improve your garden and gardening practices.
Lessons from Nature
170 Pine St.
E. Aurora, NY 14052