By Pam Erikson/Special to Black Press Media
Winter is almost done.
By the middle of February, I am usually very excited to see plants popping out of the ground – tulips, hyacinths, muscari and peonies are all poking through; the snowdrops are in full bloom; and the flowering shrubs like Viburnum bodnatense, Sarcococca and Hamamelis are filling the air with fragrance.
But hearing the weather forecast calling for a cold snap again this week, I realized we were not in the clear yet.
Luckily, most of the plants that are ‘anxious’ and growing already are tough in our climate – they bounce back pretty quickly after a cold spell.
The stars in our garden right now are the Hellebores. A bounty of colours – pink, purple, white, yellow, green, and white ones with pink centers and edges – are adding incentive to go outside and have a walk around.
I love the fact that we have the option to have so much colour in the garden during the winter here on the Lower Mainland.
There are a bevy of winter pansies, primulas, and kale that all add such interest.
Winter offers a lot of time to spend reading gardening magazines and seed catalogues, and browsing the internet for inspiration for spring.
Now is the time to get organized before the actual ‘labour’ starts out there.
Once we get past this next cold patch, it will be time to get out there, clean up debris and weeds, and prepare the soil for planting.
It is also a great time to divide any perennials that you did not get to in the fall.
Fruit tree pruning should be completed before the end of March and damaged lawns should be looked at to see if they need power raking or aerating – best done in late March to late April depending on how wet the ground is. (Drier conditions are best for that type of work).
I get a lot of questions on rose pruning – that should be done when the forsythia is in bloom and Select Roses have excellent videos available on YouTube for your enjoyment and education!
And as for fertilizing – still too early as we need much warmer night-time temperatures before considering that (usually mid April works best).
And on a truly happy note, now that many of the provincial health regulations have been lifted, garden clubs are looking to start with in-person meetings again! Many of us who belong to clubs have sincerely missed that camaraderie we enjoyed every month.
Not only are garden clubs a wonderful place to meet like-minded gardeners, but they offer a myriad of ideas through speakers, plants on display and simply getting to chat with people about gardening experiences and plants in general.
And be sure to keep your eyes open for garden clubs resuming their spring plant sales soon.
Yes – winter is almost done and the best is yet to come!
– Pam Erikson is owner of Erikson’s Daylily Gardens and Perennials and president of the Langley Garden Club.
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