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Upcoming Garden Events The Pioneer Unit of the Herb Society of America will be

holding its annual sale at Festival Hill in Round Top on March 16-17. This sale has everything from herbs, fl owers, and vegetables to shrubs and small trees. Visit the Dallas Arboretum’s nationally acclaimed fl oral

festival Dallas Blooms (March 3-April 8), which features 500,000 spring-blooming bulbs, including tulips, daffodils, Dutch iris, and hyacinths, in addition to thousands of other spring- blooming annuals and perennials. During the festival, over 100 cherry blossom trees bloom for a ten-day period. The fi nale of this spring celebration is the mass fl owering of the garden’s collection of 6,000 azaleas that bloom through the end of April.

Preparing for Spring BY JAY WHITE

zine without fi nding at least one story related to the art of growing. All of this coverage is encouraging Americans from every demo- graphic to get outside and get dirty. According to the National Gardening Association, about one million new people take up gardening each year. If you love to garden (or would like to start), Texas is one of the best places in the nation to do it. Our mild winters allow us to garden year ‘round. Because of our mild winter temperatures, February is the unoffi cial start of the spring gardening season in many parts of Texas. People often ask me what they can do to


improve their gardens. In my opinion, the best thing you can do for the plants you grow is improve their living conditions. Healthy plants grow in healthy soil, and healthy soil is full of organic matter. February is the perfect time to add organic material (compost) to your beds and borders. Compost comes in many forms. Some forms come

ave you noticed that gardening is cool again? It

is almost impossible to watch a newscast or peruse a maga-

from vegetable matter and others come from animal waste. Whichever type you use, your soil (and ultimately your plants) will benefi t. T e quickest way to add organic material

to your beds is to top dress them with three to six inches of compost twice a year. If you have soil that is high in clay, use a tiller to work the compost into the soil for two or three growing seasons. By

by the end of the month. You can also plant carrots, lettuce, spinach, turnips, radishes, collards, and beets from seed throughout the month. Don’t forget the potatoes and onion sets! February is the perfect time for them, and they will thank you for the compost that you added earlier in the month. February is also a great time to plant


improving your soil you will consistently grow fl owers, vegetables, and perennials that bloom more, live longer, and require less water and work than those grown in poor soils.

Once your soil is ready, you can plant

many varieties of fl owers and vegetables that can take a light freeze. Snap dragons, pansies, and alyssum do great from trans- plants. T ese colorful and reliable standbys will brighten up any bed, and they can withstand freezes

into the 20s. In the

vegetable garden, plant green peas early in the month. Transplants of all Cole crops (broccoli, caulifl ower, cabbage, kohlrabi, and brussel sprouts) should be in the ground

perennials. Roses and shrubs set out now will have time to establish roots before the extremes of the Texas summer arrive. It is also not too late to set out berry bushes and bare root fruit trees. When March fi nally arrives, keep your

shovel handy because it’s time to plant many of the fl owers that we all love. In my cottage garden, I will be planting seeds of castor beans, celosia (cock’s comb), cleome (spider fl ower), cosmos, dianthus (pinks), four o’clocks, nasturtiums, marigolds, and lots of zinnias. Begonias, coleus, daisies, gerani- ums, gomphrena (bachelor’s buttons), hibiscus, hollyhocks, plumbago, phlox, and sedums all do well from transplants after mid month. Happy gardening, y’all! •

TexasLiVE | Volume 6 Issue 1 55

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