Inland Northwest, High Desert
Clean Out, Play With Old Catalogs
With new catalogs arriving daily, it's time to weed out the old. But don't throw them out. Instead, offer them to your children or to an elementary school art teacher. Nowhere else will they find such exquisite, beautifully photographed flower close-ups. Cut out carefully, they illustrate stunning greeting cards (Valentine's Day and Mother's Day are just around the corner). Or you might like to join them with your own scissors and design a dream garden.
Too Early to Plant But Not to Buy
Daylilies and other summer-blooming bulbs, corms, and perennials are taking their first bows now. New varieties beckon from catalogs and garden shows. Scoop them up before they're gone. It's too early to plant them, so pot them up in 6-inch pots and put them on a windowsill till the ground is workable and temperatures moderate.
Spray Dormant Oil
Pick one of these pleasant, dry days and apply dormant spray. These oil-based sprays (check out the newest soybean oil-based ones) will smother overwintering scale, aphids, and spider mites while they sleep. A little spray now will eliminate problems before they begin.
Note Plants With Winter Interest
Look around your yard, as well as your neighbor's. When branches are bare of all those leaves, some are quite attractive and interesting. Sumac displays large, red, seed cones. Barberry shows off her magenta branches and retains enough red leaves to add a lot of color to the garden. Corkscrew willow looks like it's just out of the beauty shop showing off a new perm. Make a note of which you like best so you can buy new ones for your yard this spring.
Watch for Dry Areas
As the snow melts off, poke around the beds to see if that snow left enough water. Our snow is often quite dry anyway, and the plants under the eaves don't even get that. Prevent winter-kill. Wait till midday when temperatures warm up a little, then set a slow sprinkler on those plants that are in danger of drying out.