Ah, February–the month of love!–especially in my family where we have two birthdays to celebrate as well as Valentine’s Day itself. All these other celebrations plus my sons’ concerts and band contests distracted me somewhat from accomplishing much in the way of gardening this month. But here’s what I did do:
♥ I shopped for garden stuff.
Thanks to a Gardeners Supply clearance sale, this IS going to be the year (after several years of thinking about it) that I switch my window boxes to the self watering kind. This may also be the year that I begin a low spray program on my young fruit trees with organic products from Gardens Alive. At least I bought the stuff to do it; it remains to be seen whether I’ll keep up with it. Plus I got the seeds for couple new tomato varieties (shocking, I know–ME trying more tomato varieties!) because adding $5 to my order from Gardens Alive allowed me to use their $25-off coupon, so it actually lowered my total cost.
♥ I made a plant basket arrangement.
I wanted to give a thank you gift to my sister-in-law because she was the accompanist for #2 son, our trumpet player, when he participated in a solo contest (and got a 1!). Since she had shared her time and musical talent with us, it seemed appropriate for me to share some of my time and green thumb talent with her. But it’s winter, and I don’t have a garden in bloom or even any homegrown foods appropriate for gifts. I do have several plant basket arrangements that I put together a year ago when I was dividing and transplanting my houseplants. (I had put them together with this very purpose in mind, to give away as gifts whenever an appropriate opportunity arose.) So I spruced up one of the bigger ones by (1) staking the tall plant that was leaning over, (2) filling in the empty spot with some of the coleus I’ve been rooting over the winter, and (3) covering the soil with some Spanish moss. Now it looked a professional arrangement from a flower shop! Then I thought a tiny little garden statue would be a nice addition, so I added the glass swan which had been sitting on our piano–the perfect final touch to this gift.
♥ I tried to keep my houseplants and overwintered container plants alive.
Just keeping my plants alive during the winter is not an easy job! First I have to find places to put them where they will look good–while not crowding out my family–and get at least the minimum amount of light they need. (See “First Steps of the Plant Dance” in my September 2011 post.) However, no matter where I place my houseplants, most of them do not like the low humidity level of my gas heated home even though we have a whole house humidifier. And sometimes whiteflies or other pest or disease problems get to them. I have a few casualties every year! (Most people don’t realize this because I keep so many plants going.) This year so far I have lost my rosemary plants (as usual!), the “Mistletoe” ficus I bought from Mr. Ted’s at last year’s Joliet Garden Day, and the second of two myrtle plants I got from him the year before and had trained into topiaries. (I must learn to resist buying the plants he brings to Garden Day.) Meanwhile, it looks like I’m in danger of loosing my poinsettias as they appear to have whitefly problem. Oh well, you win some; you lose some. That’s part of the adventure of gardening!