First of all let me wish all of my readers a Happy Happy New Year. This country has been through a lot, but I have always been of the mind, that if lemons come your way, do not despair, make lemonade. In spite of the prophets of gloom and doom, 2013 will soar with hope, new ideas, new inventions and a new commitment to making our world a better place to live. And that include beautiful gardens.
January is the month of hope of things to come. A group wanted to visit my garden in the dead of winter several years ago. Of course, there were pansies, dianthus, the beautiful gray-green of lambs ears, and the silvery fluff of dusty miller. There were also huge blank areas where I have planted bulbs and seed. I told them to close their eyes and visualize the yellow and white daffodils, the bright pink tulips, the tall red and white poppies. I called these areas my underground garden.
Since we have had a hard freeze, it is still time to spray trees, shrubs, grass, fences, vines, and everything outside with a combination of Volk Oil and Lime Sulfur. But on the other hand if you love to deal with mosquitos, white flies, powdery mildew, mold, fleas, roaches, and a myriad of other pests which hatch from eggs, do not spray. Remember it is too late to spray when dormancy is broken.
Now is the time to take stock of where your garden has been and where you want it to go this year. A great gardening pal of both Ed's and mine, Bill Gordy, would postulate, "if a flower or shrub did not say thank you, out it goes". There is nothing like having a polite flower garden. But the point is, if you had trouble with a certain plant, and if that flower/plant was tended properly and it still did not perform, then let's just erase it off our garden plan and substitute. I have found a great tarp for pots which house fairly cold hardy perennials such as plumbago, elephant ears, geraniums, and other plants which will take some freezing temperatures. It is a large outside grill cover which has curved sides and insulates the plants. Also, the large tarps can be put into action for this purpose also. Remember to weight the ends with brick or stones, so the wind does not blow the protection off.
PLANT OF THE MONTH
Nandina or Heavenly bamboo--Berberidaceae which is an evergreen or some, semi-deciduous shrub. This plant should have a prominent spot on the TV series, "The Survivors". If you want a shrub which requires no care, no water, no pruning , no fertilizer, then this is for you. Even with temperatures going down to 5 degrees, it will probably lose leaves, and still live. It belongs to the barberry family, and has caned branching stems with delicate narrow leaves. Not a rampant grower, and gets to about 6 feet or better in height. Foliage has pinkish copper which turn lime green in the spring and then has purple and bronze tints in the fall. Great for flower arrangements especially if you want to add bright orange berries to the mix. When pruning this shrub, trim in a slight wedge like manner to that the legs can get sunlight to encourage foliage. This procedure will eliminate that lanky leggy look that folks find objectionable in Nandina.
I will close with my favorite quote that I found somewhere by somebody, "a garden is a beautiful thing, and a thing of beauty honors all of life".