The Gardener's February Calendar

A bluebird attract to the heated birdbath this winter.
Snow, snow and more snow. That has been the theme for the last couple of weeks. Somewhere under all those snow drifts is my garden. It's just hard to remember that right now! There's plenty to do inside while we wait for the snow to melt.

Birding
A female bluebird in the garden.
I've been spending a lot of time looking out my window at all the different birds that visit the feeders at this time of year. It's made me think about what plants I could grow to attract more birds to my garden not only in the winter, but throughout the rest of the year as well. Growing trees like crab apples and bushes like winterberry will help attract bluebirds to the garden in the winter months. Flowers that go to seed, like echinacea, attract goldfinches in the late summer and fall.

It's important to keep an available source of water for the birds as well since may natural sources of water freeze.

Seeds
Organize all the seed packets according to planting date. Figure out what your estimated last frost date is. (This website will help.) Then count backward from that week. This is your growing season. So when a packet of seeds says to start them inside eight weeks before the last average frost, for example, count back eight weeks from your last frost date. If you haven't ordered all your seeds yet, now is the time to do so before they sell out. 

You can start seeds of pansies, snapdragons, geraniums, ageratum and petunias now.


See you in the spring, little owl.
Force Flowers
Go outside and trim branches of forsythia, witch hazel and pussy willows. Bring them inside and put them in a vase of water. Within a week they will bloom. Instant spirit lifter.

Dream Big
Now's the time where seed catalogs, garden magazines and Pinterest come in handy. I've been saving pictures from magazines and printing images from the web to create my inspiration board. These are the photos of plants or garden scenes I wish to replicate in my garden. I used to keep these images squirreled away, but now I glue them to mattboard (you can use a foam board or poster board, too) and keep it out where I can see it. My reasoning? How can I replicate these ideas if I forget about them? With an inspiration board, I'm constantly reminded of what my goals are.

Fruit trees

Toward the end of this month is a good time to trim pear and apple trees. The general guideline is to wait until the coldest part of the winter has passed before trimming, but before the spring warmup kicks in. Make sure your pruning shears are sharp and clean before you go outside and tackle this project. Still nervous? Here's how I pruned my pear tree.

Houseplants
With the snow covering everything, my attention goes back to houseplants, such as African violets or orchids that need repotting. You can fertilize houseplants that show signs of new growth now as well. I recently purchased Dr. Earth's Liquid Solution Concentrate (3-3-3) for this purpose.

Remember: spring is coming. The snow will melt. Onward!

I live in Central Connecticut and garden in Zone 6b.

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