The Gardener's February Calendar ~ 2017

The to-do list for February is one of the shorter ones I have, mainly because I'm spending my time dreaming and staring out the windows and figuring out how I can make my garden the best it can be. This involves considering the succession of bloom in the garden, the best use of space, tucking in edibles along with my ornamentals and figuring out ways to conserve water. Mainly, when I'm caught gazing out the window, I'm mentally imagining how the garden would look its best on the limited time availability I have.

This year I am shifting my focus on ways I can make better use of my time in the garden, which is a theme I think many gardeners can relate to. I'm also super excited to be a part of this year's Garden Blogger's Fling, which will be taking place in Virginia and the Washington D.C. area. Many of the wonderful, talented gardeners I interact with on social media will also be attending the fling, and I'm not only excited to meet many of them in person, but to discover more great plant combinations, gardening techniques and overall plant knowledge!

Without further ado, here are the items I hope to accomplish this month:

Water sprouts are some of the branches that
can be trimmed off fruit trees in late February.
  • Force blooms - 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.
  • Fruit trees - The end of February 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 prune my pear tree.
  • Seed starting 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, nicotiana and petunias now.
  • Clean water - It's important to keep a source of water available for the birds since may natural sources of water freeze. Even the squirrels come over and drink from the heated birdbath at this time of year.
  • Birding - Just like last winter, I've spent a lot of time looking out my window at all the different birds that visit the feeders at this time of year. I want to continue to grow plants that will attract birds to my garden all year long. For example, growing trees like crab apples and bushes like winterberry are more likely to attract bluebirds in the winter months. Flowers that go to seed, like echinacea, attract goldfinches in the late summer and fall. Now is the time to figure out where you can fit these plants and shrubs into your landscape.

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

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


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