Gardening in El Lago

Trowels & Tribulations in a Suburban Garden - February Issue

By: Donna J. Ward, Certified Texas Master Gardener (Note: This is a reprint of Donna’s article that appears in the La Ventana del Lago.

Whew – Wasn’t that refreshing? Who would have thought that the February ’21 Freezeamageddon would be followed by another freeze 10 months later? Although the latter didn’t last as long, it certainly did a number on our landscapes. But February means spring in this part of the country.

Much to do this month. While we’ve been taking down the holiday decorations, the creepy crawlies have been proliferating in the dead debris left by the freeze. Get rid of it, let’s start with clean flower beds and the veggie patch could also use a makeover. If you have a viable compost pile, now’s the time to till it in to both locations. It’s time to plant. The beauty of your spring garden depends pretty much on the work you did in February. There are some flowering plants that love cool weather. Just a few are alyssum, larkspur, calendula, petunia, snapdragon, stock, and Shasta daisies. If you can find transplants of sweet peas give them a trellis to climb on, and they will reward you with a multitude of blossoms for that Mason jar sitting on the kitchen counter. I have to admit that as much as I like petunias and geraniums, I never buy the overpriced baskets offered by most nurseries, as I’m too much of a penny-pincher to pay for a flower that will crater with the first heat wave. The adverts I get from nurseries tell me they are touting fuchsias. They are lovely, and in the short time we lived in California (not on purpose!) I had several hanging baskets of fuchsias that were visited daily by the hummingbirds. But they do not enjoy our heat and humidity, so if you purchase any, don’t expect a summer long display. Just sayin’…..

It’s not too late to plant landscape trees, but be advised they will require much attention to establish a root system. Consistent watering will be an issue with our summer heat, and of course mulch is compulsory.

Valentine’s Day February, 14th requires a glass of bubbly, a box of chocolates and a pruning of your roses. Remove any dead or crossed canes and thin to approximately 5 canes. Roses prefer plenty of air circulation to prevent diseases. Don’t touch the climbers until after they have bloomed.

If your camellias have bloomed, now’s the time for their haircut. Any branches growing inward should be removed. Air circulation within the interior is critical in order to discourage scale. Any dead branches need to be removed back to live wood so as not to infect the entire plant.

February is a busy month for veggie gardening. Beets, collards, broccoli, lettuce, kohlrabi, mustard, Irish potatoes, radish, spinach, English and snap peas are looking for a home out in your south forty. Dig out the overalls from the back of your closet, dust off the straw hat, and knock the dirt off of the spading fork that you left in the garage. It’s time to get serious about gardening – Spring is Springing………….

Did you know that Trowels & Tribulations is published on the city site on the first of the month? Under Our Community you will find Trowels & Tribulations listed.

Sweetpea 2010