Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Almost March: A Walk Through Our Yard

After a month or two of dormant plants and little color, our home landscapes are livening up with crocus blooms, daffodils, and Carolina jasmine. When these first flowers appear, we know that spring won't be too far away. This year the first day of spring is March 20.

In many areas, crocuses pop through the snow. We've been lucky this year to avoid the wintery weather--but still appreciate seeing those yellow, purple and white blooms. These crocuses are at our house (Ashley and Anna). Levi likes to call the striped ones "zebra crocuses." Crocus is a genus in the Iris family.

Another favorite spring bloom is the daffodil. It is one of the most hardy bulbs--even the most inexperienced gardener should have no trouble growing a group of these. Squirrels and other pests leave the bulbs alone and according to the American Daffodil Society, daffodil bulbs should outlive the gardeners who planted them. Although this flower is sometimes called a "jonquil" in the South, that term really only applies to a certain species of daffodil. 

Also blooming this time of year is the native Carolina Jasmine. Our state flower, the Carolina Jasmine is a trailing/climbing vine that is recognized by its yellow blooms. Ashley and Anna have several of these vines growing on their property. 

We hope the blooms around town and in your own yards lift your spirits as we wrap up this winter!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

February Lawn Maintenance Tips

We would like to share some monthly lawn maintenance tips for keeping your yard looking its best for February:

-Fertilize and mulch all trees and shrubs.
-Water pansies, trees, shrubs, etc. as needed during dry spells.
-Cut back ornamental grasses: Miscanthus, Pampas, Liriope.
-Lightly prune all crape myrtles.
-Prune 'Knock Out' Rose
-Use dormant oils to control scale or bores on maples and fruit trees.

Here is a great article about some of these and other tips...

Written by Amy Bledsoe 
Sick of winter?  Star
t planning for color in your yard. Even those with physical limitations can have a garden by using colorful planting containers. Window boxes, hanging baskets, and pots placed near the entrance welcome visitors to the home. Limit use of annuals to those that can be planted easily in a small amount of time, and use perennials that return each year to provide the bulk of the color. 
. Enjoy the break from the heat and mowing. Have you had a soil sample taken yet? Don’t procrastinate any longer!
Cut back ornamental grasses now and plan for new plantings of ornamental grass in the spring.  Consider these wonderful

  • Pampas grass is great for making a statement in a larger space but does have sharp blades of grass that can cut.
  • Muhly grass is a smaller option that has soft leaves. Sweet grass baskets sold to Charleston tourists are made from this grass. When in bloom at the end of the summer, the pink plumes resemble floating cotton candy.
  • Other great choices are all in the Miscanthus family of grasses such as ‘Adagio’, ‘Gracillimus’, ‘Yaku Jima’, and ‘Morning Light’.
  • Choices for dwarf grasses include ‘Little Kitten’, ‘Hameln’, and ‘Mouldry’.
There are many more choices - you can’t beat the low maintenance and drought tolerance of these ornamental grasses.

 February is a perfect time for planting roses! Instead of buying cut roses for your loved one on Valentine’s Day, buy a rose bush to be enjoyed over a lifetime.

Shrubs  One of the best winter blooming shrubs is the Flowering Quince. For a small space try ‘Texas Scarlet’. These shrubs do have barbs, so consider placement carefully. This prickly bush can prevent trespassers and provide fruit for making quince jelly!

You can see the rest of this article here: Amy's February Horticultural Tasks. These are just a few suggestions. Feel free to ask questions or add to the list in the comments section.