During the month of February, we celebrate Presidents Day (what the holiday is referred to, however; the federal holiday is officially called “Washington’s Birthday”). I wanted to focus on a legend that I always heard growing up about George Washington. The legend is that George Washington chopped down a cherry tree when he was just 6 years old. When his dad confronted him about it, he supposedly said “I cannot tell a lie. I did it with my hatchet.”
Well, the jokes on us, since Washington didn’t say this at all. This tale was made up by Parson Mason Weems who was one of George’s biographers. He made this up in the hopes to demonstrate Washington’s honesty. And another quite not-so-true tale is that he had wooden dentures. Another false hood. They were made of hippopotamus teeth and filed down to fit into Washington’s mouth. You can’t make this stuff up right.
So enough of this, let’s get to fun stuff about February. Fun? Is there actually anything fun about cold, frigid temperatures, snowy weather, and ice? Especially when one must travel and go to work in it. Well, there is. You can take your mind and move it into gardening mode, even though you may not be seeing the ground right now, or if you are seeing the ground, it is frozen. You can still let your mind wander to the warmer, sunnier days ahead. Let’s think about trees..
Did you know that this month is a perfect month to prune your deciduous trees? (The word deciduous means to “fall off,” and every fall these trees shed their leaves. Most deciduous trees are broad-leaved, with wide, flat leaves.) Deciduous trees include oaks, maples, and beeches. After trees lose their leaves in late autumn, their structure and shape are revealed. It’s easier to see which branches are growing inward (get rid of those) or crossing others (get rid of those too). Winter pruning will encourage new growth in spring. During this dormant period, insects and diseases that could harm fresh-cut trunks or branches also are dormant. DO NOT Prune your spring-flowering trees. Wait to prune those in late spring after their flowers fade. If you prune them now, you’ll be cutting off this spring’s blossoms.
February is also the time to prune your shrubs too. Deciduous shrubs go dormant in cold weather and you can prune them now before leaves start to appear. This will encourage healthy growth and flowering in spring. Please wait to prune evergreen shrubs ( the ones that don’t produce showy spring flowers) until next month.
And now is the perfect time to add trellises and arbors to your gardening area. Without flowers and foliage to confuse your eye, you can really see the shape of your garden in the winter. What’s missing? How can you make it better for this coming season? Now is the time to add screening elements like trellises and arbors. You can make a whole new “feel” for your gardening area now.
Lastly, a great thing to do is reorganize your garage or your garden shed to have it garden time ready! Get rid of boxes full of junk that you never use. Move the Christmas Decorations to where they belong and dust off shelves, etc. By doing this, you mind will feel less cluttered too and you will know that your will be heading into gardening season organized and ready!
And don’t forget to stop by the Marshall County co-op for your planting seeds, ideas and so much more.
Now, go get yourself a nice cup of hot coffee or cocoa and sit in your chair and watch the snow fall……… Enjoy the season….warmer days are ahead, and the Marshall County Co-Op will be ready to help you with all your gardening and planting needs.