FEBRUARY IS HERE. One can taste the full joys of anticipation. Spring stands at the gate with her finger on the latch. …Patience Strong
Winter is an ideal time to do some research and gather ideas, explore garden topics and attempt to find some solutions to past problem areas. Dream, scheme and plan for what to do differently; be a risk taker and try something new every year.
The internet provides a wealth of information on any particular subject: garden design, pruning, irrigation, potting mixes, container gardening, growing vegetables, new perennials for 2022, DIY projects and others. Type in a word; your best new idea might be closer than you think.
If you’re still an old-school gardener who prefers leafing through magazines and books, check out your local library or used bookstore. New authors are still writing articles and publishing gardening books.
SPEAKING AT THE BOTANICAL CENTER on March 5, 11:30 AM: Learn on Saturday classes continue through March at the Botanical Center. Enabling Garden’s Judy Goshorn will be one of two Polk County Master Gardeners discussing Purposeful Gardening: Volunteers Impacting our Community. Please put this date on your calendar and come support Judy as she shares volunteerism through the lens of being involved with the Enabling Garden.
IMPROVING THE LANDSCAPE: Whether walking through my neighborhood or being involved 19 years with the Enabling Garden, I have a tendency to critique the trees and shrubs. Many of us create beautiful floral designs and plantings in front of and around our shrubs. We weed, water, and tend the flower bed while the shrub stands neglected year after year. It becomes full of suckers, old woody stems crowd out new ones, lopsided limbs develop, and flowering is weak and insignificant. One Bridal Wreath Spirea not far from my home has four young Mulberry saplings growing up through it. Trimming the top and sides is not the answer. Though difficult to learn in a class setting, the skill of pruning shrubs often comes through trial and error. We can do better and learn together in the process.
Late winter or early spring is the recommended time to rejuvenate and reshape many shrubs. Proper pruning improves the health and beauty of any plant, thereby increasing its lifespan and productivity.
If you prune summer and fall bloomers (which bloom on new wood) in early spring, they’ll have more flowers later on. (New wood refers to the stems and twigs that form this growing year.) For spring flowering shrubs (Example: Forsythia), prune soon after flowering ends so the shrub has time to form next year’s buds.
You’ll find pruning instructions on the internet to be very thorough; be specific when googling the name of your shrub. Books and magazine articles will give you step by step drawings. Shrubs are very forgiving; feel free to ask for help and assistance.
SAVE THE DATE: Our first planning meeting will be Tuesday, March 29th. Time and location to be announced. Watch for more details in the March newsletter.
VOLUNTEERS AND INTERNS ALWAYS WELCOME: The garden has all sizes of beds available for maintenance and care. As winter turns into spring, please give serious consideration to volunteering with us. Contact one of the chairs if interested or if you need answers to questions. A personal voice on the other end of your call just might tip the scales of indecision. Rosie Surber--641-521-1628; Paul Satre--515-322-7737; Judy Goshorn—515-681-1636 or Linda Brown—515-779-6331.
WINTER COLOR: Walk through the Enabling Garden in February and you’ll find very little color. The photo this month showcases a very colorful addition to the garden; our ‘Share a note with us’ mailbox. Our appreciation to Virginia Silver and Sandie Hamilton for their talents in painting and lettering. All ages and visitors from all over have written comments and have shared their artwork. I trust these heartfelt words of appreciation and praise will continue to encourage all of us to remain active and committed.
Submitted by Ruth O’Connor