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Talkin' Dirt - February 2016

by Mary Beth Riggs

“Talk’n Dirt” also appears monthly in our newsletter "The Garden Gate" as well providing helpful garden tips each month. Many of our club's lifelong gardeners have agreed to contribute their substantial gardening knowledge and we encourage you to do the same.  Please get me your tips by the 5th of the month so I can incorporate them into the monthly article.  This information is only as good as the folks providing it so it's bound to be outstanding!



A big thank you to all the members who sent me their positive and helpful thoughts about the January article!! I hope that all of you will feel free to let me know what you love about your garden, so that we can further open our lines of communication and friendship with each other.  Joyce Hawkins' ongoing content and editing contributions are greatly appreciated.  MBR


February is an exciting time in our region's gardens. This is the month when we go from planning to doing!

Head out to your favorite nursery and see what is already in bloom. Choose any of the stunning selection of blooming pansies, primroses and dwarf daffodils to add instant impact to your garden or give a new lease on life to your tired winter containers. 'Tete a Tete' daffodils are a favorite, with each bulb throwing up multiple flowers. Echo the colors already in your container for a cohesive look.

Also, scope out the hellebores and see the new hybrids that are arriving each year . Helleborus argutifolius ‘Snow Fever’ has gorgeous variegated leaves, is hardy, and has been blooming since mid January in one of our member’s garden. Witch hazel (Hamamelis mollis) provides fragrance and color and also is a bird magnet.


Other early-blooming shrubs include fragrant Sarcococca, Daphne Odora, Viburnum, and Star Magnolia. If you already have or want to attract mason/orchard bees, be sure to include at least one Pieris japonica, which provides nectar when they emerge early this month. Their range is much shorter than honey bees only about 100 yards.

Bareroot and potted roses are available this month. Ask your nursery professional for advice on which ones are disease resistant, fragrant, heirloomvarieties or long bloomers. There are so many to choose from! And, beforeleaving the nursery, don’t forget to pick out your vegetable and flower seeds.


Now is the time to cut back the brown tops of ornamental grasses before newstems appear. To make quick work of large clumps of grass, bind stems togetherusing a bungee cord. Cut stems beneath the cord using electric hedge clippers.


Lastly, don’t forget to attend the Northwest Flower and Garden Show in Seattle THIS MONTH, February 17 - 21.


"Time spent in the garden is added on to the rest of our life"  author unknown

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