Bailey Arboretum Horticulture Notes: February 2015

“Winter in Manhattan… the streets were covered with a thin film of ice, but a little simple magic….I bought you violets for your furs…and it was spring for a while.”  ‘Violets for Her Furs’ by Matt Denis made famous by Frank Sinatra.

February the shortest month. By the end of the month we will see crocus and snow drops.

Equipment Prep: Tools should not only be cleaned but lubricated and sharpened. Coat tools with a product like Fluid Film which cleans, lubricates and inhibits rust. In addition to sharpening tools with blades, also sharpen hoes and spades.

Flower Shows:

  • February 12-15 New Jersey Flower and Garden Show
  • February 19-22 Connecticut Flower Show
  • February 28-March 8 Philadelphia Flower Show
  • February 28-April 19 New York Botanical Garden Orchid Show

Indoor plants: Try something new. Explore Succulents planted in groups or alone, also try Tillandsias air plants. As days grow longer plants will push more growth, time to renew fertilizer, best seems to be warm water soluble. Clivia begin to bloom now.

Outdoor Gardening: Use a nice day, clear away old hellebore leaves, turn over compost and water recently planted evergreens.

Pruning: Prune hollies, summer blooming shrubs, grape, and deciduous trees

Over 40 degrees? Cut branches for forcing. Look for emerging leaves of bulbs and fertilize them, replant any heaved bulbs.

2015 The Year of the Soil: The United Nations has named 2015 as the year of soil.

Though Leonardo da Vinci said  “We know more about the movement of celestial bodies than we do about the soil underfoot” in around 1500, we are only getting to realize its importance now.  The national soil organization has developed an extensive program of activities for k-college with activities, videos, books etc.

February’s theme is “Soils Support Urban/Suburban Life” Activities for the month include investigating rain gardens... a good idea for Long Island gardeners.

Tree Removals: The terrible truth is that our stately tree lined streets have become dangerous. Many of our older trees are rotted, or weak. Damage from pedestrian and vehicle traffic, turf maintenance, construction, and disease have taken a toll. Do not fight the tree removal. Let the experts remove the trees and then plant new ones. Trees that will be better suited, better planted, and more easily maintained.

Seed Exchanges: Seed Exchanges are very popular. The American Horticulture Society has one of the best. With all the new equipment for seed starting it is easy to grow new and exciting varieties. Order now and many can be started by the end of the month.