"Remember that children, marriages, and flower gardens  reflect the kind of care they get."  - H. Jackson Brown, Jr.
Children, marriages and flower gardens...
For many, those three things are some of the most important things in life. Not necessarily in that order, but they're all up at the top of the list. February is a great month to give each one some extra care and attention. Let your family know how much you love them and begin preparing your garden plans. Get your seeds and garden materials together. Go to your local library and check out some interesting gardening books. Spend time with other gardeners and share ideas and encouragement. Don't be afraid to try something new-worm composting? Edible landscaping? Exotic tropical plants? And when things get difficult, don't let yourself become too hard or too soft.  
Upcoming Events

February 20 to April 16, 2020
Landscape Design Essentials
Northampton Community College

Cultivate beautiful natural environments by following a few simple rules of the trade. This course defines all the fundamentals of creating and installing a new style of garden design. From the Elements and Principles of Landscape Design to the particular choice of materials, you will gain appreciation of gardening from the roots to the ground and up. The final class brings everything together in an evening of inspiring designs and thought-provoking discussion. Taught by Lori Metz, horticulturist, landscape designer, and owner of Carriage House Landscape Design. Click this link for more info or to register.

April 11, 10 am - noon - Pierce Memorial Garden at Chrin Community Center, 4100 Green Pond Rd, Easton PA 
"Early Season Hands-on Maintenance Workshop" - Lori will explain which shrubs and p erennials to maintain at this time of year and then show you how. See firsthand how to care for your landscape plants. After attending you will be able to prune like a pro in your own yard!  This event is free. Registration is strongly recommended but not necessary.

Potatoes, Eggs, and Coffee Beans  
Author Unknown

Once upon a time a daughter complained to her father that her life was miserable and that she didn't know how she was going to make it. She was tired of fighting and struggling all the time. It seemed just as one problem was solved, another one soon followed.
Her father, a chef, took her to the kitchen. He filled three pots with water and placed each on a high fire. Once the three pots began to boil, he placed potatoes in one pot, eggs in the second pot, and ground coffee beans in the third pot.
He then let them sit and boil, without saying a word to his daughter. The daughter, moaned and impatiently waited, wondering what he was doing.
After twenty minutes he turned off the burners. He took the potatoes out of the pot and placed them in a bowl. He pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl.
He then ladled the coffee out and placed it in a cup. Turning to her he asked. "Daughter, what do you see?"
"Potatoes, eggs, and coffee," she hastily replied.
"Look closer," he said, "and touch the potatoes." She did and noted that they were soft. He then asked her to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard-boiled egg. Finally, he asked her to sip the coffee. Its rich aroma brought a smile to her face.
"Father, what does this mean?" she asked.
He then explained that the potatoes, the eggs and coffee beans had each faced the same adversity- the boiling water.
However, each one reacted differently.
The potato went in strong, hard, and unrelenting, but in boiling water, it became soft and weak.
The egg was fragile, with the thin outer shell protecting its liquid interior until it was put in the boiling water. Then the inside of the egg became hard.
However, the ground coffee beans were unique. After they were exposed to the boiling water, they changed the water and created something new.
"Which are you," he asked his daughter. "When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a potato, an egg, or a coffee bean? "
Moral:In life, things happen around us, things happen to us, but the only thing that truly matters is what happens within us.
Which one are you?

February In Your Garden

Edibles - All weeks

  • Do you have all the seeds that you would like? Start getting them together, along with your containers and growing medium, and plan your garden. It will be time to start the some of the seeds in the next few weeks.
  • Season extending devices such as cold frames, hot beds, cloches and floating row covers will allow for an early start to the growing season.
  • Run a germination test on seeds stored from previous years to see if they will still sprout.
  • Don't work garden soils if they are wet. Squeeze a handful of soil. It should form a ball that will crumble easily. If it is sticky, allow the soil to dry further before tilling or spading.
  • Inspect fruit trees for tent caterpillar egg masses. Eggs appear as dark brown or gray collars that encircle small twigs. Destroy by pruning or scratching off with your thumbnail.
WEEK 3                    
  • Collect scion wood now for grafting of fruit trees later in spring. Wrap bundled scions with plastic and store them in the refrigerator.

ALL WEEKS                                     
  • To avoid injury to lawns, keep foot traffic to a minimum when soils are wet or frozen.
  • When sowing seeds indoors, be sure to use sterile soil mediums to prevent diseases. As soon as seeds sprout, provide ample light to encourage stocky growth.
  • Re-pot any root-bound house plants now before vigorous growth occurs. Choose a new container that is only 1 or 2 inches larger in diameter than the old pot.
  • To extend the vase life of cut flowers you should: 1. - Re-cut stems underwater with a sharp knife. 2. - Remove any stem foliage that would be underwater. 3. - Use a commercial flower preservative. 4. - Display flowers in a cool spot, away from direct sunlight.
WEEK 3                                 
  • Now is a good time to learn to identify trees by their winter twigs and buds.
  • Branches of pussy willow, quince, crabapple, forsythia, pear and flowering cherry may be forced indoors. Place cut stems in a vase of water and change the water every 4 days
WEEK 4                                                         
  • Watch for squirrels feeding on the tender, swollen buds of Elms, Hickories, Oaks and other trees as spring approaches.
  • Maple sugaring time is here! Freezing nights and mild days make the sap flow.
  • Begin to fertilize house plants as they show signs of new growth. Plants that are still resting should receive no fertilizers yet.

ALL WEEKS                           
  • Mild temperatures may cause Hellebores to bloom earlier than usual. Be sure to enjoy the early flowers.
  • Winter aconite (Eranthis sp.) and snowdrops (Galanthus sp.) are hardy bulbs for shady gardens that frequently push up through snow to bloom now.
  • Water evergreens if the soil is dry and unfrozen.
  • Inspect summer bulbs in storage to be sure none are drying out. Discard any that show signs of rot.
  • Enjoy the fragrant blooms of the Witch Hazel flowering in shrub borders or wooded areas on warm sunny days.
  • Take geranium cuttings now. Keep the foliage dry to avoid leaf and stem diseases.

WEEK 3                            
  • Re-firm plants loosened by the action of frost.

WEEK 4                                 
  • A thornless climber, climbing rose is ideal for planting close to a doorway or path.
  • If herbaceous plants have not yet been tidied up and old shoots cut down, do this now. -Also, fork lightly between plants, spreading well-rotted manure or compost between them.
  • Consider adding a rock garden which creates a home for alpines, bulbs, dwarf conifers and small herbaceous plants. Do not position rock gardens under trees.

Pests and Problems
  • Prune out black knot in plums and cherries.
  • Scout for and remove bagworms and cedar-apple rust galls on evergreens.
  • Continue to look for Spotted Lantern Fly egg masses and destroy any you find.
  • Inspect indoor plants for insects.
  • Inspect for and remove tent caterpillar egg masses on apples and other trees.Easy to remove now without needing chemicals.
  • If you find egg mass
    Tent caterpillar egg mass with newly hatched caterpillars.They look like tiny black dots in webbing.
    es of these good guys, don't destroy! These praying mantid egg cases will hatch into powerful insect-eating "machines.
  • Apply dormant oil sprays for controlling scale on pines, magnolias and other plants.                      
  • Water needled and broadleaf evergreens as well as any plants newly planted last fall during dry periods when the soil is not frozen.                      
  • Examine perennials for frost heaving. Do not work wet soils.     
  • If you decide to apply fertilizer on cool-season grasses in spring, hold off until May.         
  • Try to complete winter pruning of fruit trees by the end of February or early March to limit the spread of diseases, such as fireblight. Pruning wounds made in early spring as opposed to those made in late winter may also attract insects.
Carriage House Landscape Design | 484.483.3495 | info@carriagehousedesign.net | www.carriagehousedesign.net