February Gardening

Icicle melting month is here as the sun grows stronger every day. Flues and colds are still with us but nothing can suppress the enthusiasm of a gardener.

  • Now is a good time to bring begonia bulbs out of storage.  They should be showing little pink “noses” of growth.  That’s when they are ready to pot up and put under lights or in a window.
  • Don’t stall any more.  Get your seed orders in if you haven’t already done so.
  • Your indoor plants should begin to come out of winter dormancy with the wonderful sun of February. Repot those indoor plants that need it.  Freshen the soil in other pots that will not be repotted.
  • Cut back straggly plants to shape them and get them ready for spring growth.
  • You can begin to water houseplants more this month.  Wait, of course, until the soil is dryish before watering.  Too much moisture is worse than too little.
  • Continue planning your outside garden this month.  As the weather warms and the sun is stronger, your gardening urges should surge.  Use the added energy to finalize your gardening plans.
  • Plant herbs and some native plants indoors this month.  Some herbs take a long time to germinate and will like the extra time indoors before the time for planting outdoors arrives.
  • Refrain from sowing your outdoor plants!  Eight to ten weeks before the last frost date is sufficient.  Count back from the last frost date in your area to determine when you will start your seeds.
  • Bring in branches of spring-flowering trees and shrubs and force them into bloom for early spring colour indoors. Check the WEB for instructions about how to force blooms.
  • Buy yourself a pot of blooming daffodils this month. After the winter's gloom and snow, you deserve the happiness and hope that a pot of daffodils will bring.
  • Spring is almost here!

Pollinator Patches

"Be the change you want to see in the world." When Mahatma Gandhi said that he must have been thinking about Pollinator Patches. You can make a difference in your world this year by creating a Pollinator Patch -- a habitat for butterflies and native bees and other insects.

Set aside a portion of your garden or maybe your boulevard to be devoted to native plants that pollinators will love. Plan your Patch in a sunny spot that will attract bees and other insects.   There is lots of information on the Web about what native plants you may want to choose. 

You might want to go beyond your personal bounds and plant a Patch on public ground.  You’ll need permission to do this but municipalities are conscious of the need for native plants for insects and may be very glad to have you head a native planting group.

Although your planting is designed to be a haven for butterflies and other insects, your focus right now should be on the Monarch Butterfly.  The butterfly has been assessed as endangered by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada.

To attract and save Monarchs, be sure to plant a stand of milkweed in your Pollinator Patch.  Milkweed is critical to the life cycle of Monarch Butterflies. The butterflies will hunt for milkweed and only milkweed for egg laying. They will lay their eggs on the underside of the leaves. Plants of the milkweed family are also the hosts of Monarch larvae. The resulting larvae will eat only milkweed leaves. No milkweed -- no Monarchs.]

If you don't want to plant ordinary milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) in your garden, consider Swamp Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata) instead.

For bees and other butterflies, yellow, red and orange plants of the composite type are especially interesting.  Rudbeckias and asters are the easiest to grow.  Coreopsis is another plant loved by bees and butterflies.  Research on the web for other plants for your Pollinator Patch.

“Be the change you want to see in the world.”  Plant a Pollinator patch this year.

The one process now going on that will take millions of years to correct is the loss of genetic and species diversity by the destruction of natural habitats. This is the folly our descendants are least likely to forgive us. --- E. O. Wilson

 

Jottings

Jottings contains some articles I wrote for the monthly newsletter of Barrie's Garden Club and other projects. I hope you enjoy them.

 

It is horrifying that we have to fight our own government to save the environment. Ansel Adams (1902 - 1984)

 

Hints & Tricks

This is a collection of neat ideas and crazy tricks that I've collected from various sources. Many are amusing, and most are useful. We gardeners just love to learn neat little ways of doing our gardening jobs more effectively. My most popular talk was just that: "Hints and Tricks."

Most of the hints I've used myself or know someone who will vouch for them. All of them are fun to read and almost as much fun to do.

 

We are like butterflies who flutter for a day and think it's forever. Carl Sagan (1934 - 1996)

 

Gardening Info

This is a miscellaneous section of odds and sods of information I've collected and would like to share. I've found most of the information in magazines and on the internet or in the many gardening books I can't resist buying!

You'll also find some of my favourite links on the Gardening Info page.

 

"Monsanto should not have to vouchsafe the safety of biotech food. Our interest is in selling as much of it as possible. Assuring its safety is the F.D.A.’s job." ~ Philip Angell, Monsanto's Director of Communications (October 1998)

 

The Blog

I guess the whole site is a sort of blog, isn't it?

But this newer section is a more conventional blog -- a space to put my thoughts and new ideas as I learn them or think them.