February To-Do List - Time To Get In Gear

Remember how I said that January was a slow month in the garden, sort of like idling where the engine is running but we aren't really going anywhere?  Well, February is when we move out of neutral and shift into first gear.  There is a whole lot going on this month so let's get to it.


Prune, prune, prune. I just spent the better part of last week at my church pruning back the PG hydrangeas, summer blooming heather and the dormant ornamental grasses, all of which appreciate a hard pruning this time of year.  I also gave a light trim to the hedges just to tidy them up before they start growing again.  Anything that blooms in the summer (rather than the spring) can be pruned back severely now.  This includes such shrubs as roses, hardy hibiscus, butterfly bushes and smoke trees to name just a few.  The same is true for any perennials that weren't cut back in the fall. There is so much that can be pruned now that perhaps the month should be renamed "Prunuary".  If you are not sure what to prune or not to prune, come in to the nursery and we will straighten you out.  


Perennials that didn't frost to the ground should be cleaned up this month.  Like I mention above, ornamental grasses are a classic example.  In my beds I am cutting back red hot pokers, day lilies, yellow wax bells, toad lilies and acanthus for starters.  Evergreen perennials like Hellebores and Epimedium that bloom in the winter need to have their old foliage removed now to make room for the flowers.  Be careful not to cut off the flowers when you do this or it will be 12 long months before you will see them again and you may be sleeping in the doghouse the whole time.


Plant.  Believe it or not there is quite a lot of plant material that can be planted this time of year.  Hardy herbs, perennials and of course all sorts of trees and shrubs can be planted now provided the ground isn't saturated.  Before you plant, dig a hole and make sure it doesn't fill up with water all on its own.  If it does, come talk to us about what to do besides putting the house up for sale.  You have options.


Weeds.  A quick trip with the Hula-Hoe can make waste of a lot of weeds in no time flat.  After you have cleaned up your weeds you can keep more from returning by applying a weed preventer like Preen and then spreading some compost over the soil surface. 


Vegetables.  Root crops like carrots, beets, onions and potatoes can be planted now.  Crops like broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale and peas can also go in the ground this month and next.  Before you plant always add some organic fertilizer, lime, and compost to the soil.  Use E.B. Stone Organic's line of products to ensure success in your garden.  


Take a gardening class.  We have scheduled over 50 classes this year, the most in Sunnyside history, so there is bound to be something of interest.  They are all taught by experts in the industry so you know you'll walk away with the best information you can get.  Check out our website for the year's line-up and to easily sign up!


Go to the Flower and Garden Show.  Not to be missed, this is the premier garden show in the country and is a great way to get excited about the upcoming season.  Believe it or not, I have attended and/or exhibited in every one since its inception in 1989 and never been disappointed.