February Therapy

With no snow on the ground and temperatures hovering above freezing, February doesn’t quite feel normal don’t you agree? I fret about the well-being of the garden and the environment at large. How is Mother Nature coping with the changing climate? How will I cope? I try however, to not dwell on gloom and doom. We will deal with the situation as it unfolds.

Meanwhile, taking advantage of the fact that my daily turns around the garden have been given a jump-start, I’m delighting in all the things happening in it. What’s coming up, what’s looking good, what tasks typically done after snow melt can be done right now. The play of light and shadows that pattern the space, the micro-environments within the garden displaying their individual responses to the weather are some of the compelling sights that speak volumes about the lay of the land and the ‘bones’ of the garden. I’m currently obsessed with tracking down exactly where the hummingbirds and cardinals had built their nests last year – the bare trees and shrubs reveal those secrets. There’s so much to see and know!

But don’t just stop and stare. Chores await!

Things To Do –

(Much of the items in the January list are applicable here. Do check that list) 

  1. Stay on top of effects of snow and storms. Take quick action.
  2. Keep bird feeders full. Whenever possible provide water.
  3. Get garden plans and designs ready.
  4. Check garden supplies. Does the hose need repair or replacing? Is there enough soil, organic fertilizer, twine, stakes etc.,? Make a list and do what is needed.
  5. Towards the end of the month, prune roses, wisteria, grape vines and fruit trees.
  6. Cut back ivy on walls and fences before birds start nesting. Brightly colored stems of Salix and Cornus should be cut back to about 6 to 10 inches from ground. This will encourage brighter color next spring.
  7. Prepare for seed sowing. Get seed flats clean and ready. Check if there’s enough seed growing medium.
  8. Order seeds. Once seeds arrive, write labels and clip to each pocket. This saves time later when there is so much else to do.
  9. If there is not much snow, cut back old leaves on Hellebores. New growth and flowers will be emerging. Cut back other perennials that were skipped in autumn.
  10. Attend to indoor plants.
  11. The New York Botanical Garden’s annual orchid show opens in March. Do reserve your tickets and go! It’ll banish winter blues and get you inspired.
  12. Renew ( or join) your membership to the Garden Conservancy. Place your order for the Open Days directory. Once you receive it you can start scheduling visits to beautiful gardens near and far. Inspiration is only a garden visit away!

Whats doing in the garden right now –

(c) 2024 Shobha Vanchiswar

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