Middle South

January, 2009
Regional Report

Rejuvenate Beds

Rejuvenate vegetable and annual flowerbeds by turning over the soil when it is cold and dry, killing insects, weeds, and nematodes. Test and adjust the pH as necessary, then amend with a layer of compost.

Cut Branches for Forcing

Cut branches of spring flowering plants for forcing indoors, such as redbud, quince, forsythia, spirea, cherry, or apple. Snip cuttings when temperatures are above freezing, choosing branches with plenty of plump buds. Once inside, split the end of branches one to four inches and place them in a vase of tepid water. Change the water twice a week, or as necessary. Cut in February, branches should bloom in one to six weeks.

Maintain Amaryllis

Remove faded blooms and flower stalks from your holiday amaryllis bulb and treat it like a house plant until May, then add it to a sunny bed or border outside. Or, if you want to force the bulb again next winter, water it until the foliage begins to turn yellow in late summer, then cut it back 2 inches above the bulb. Remove the bulb from its container and clean it of soil, storing it in a cool (40-50 degree F), dark place. Rest the bulb at least 6 weeks before you repot it for another season of bloom.

Water Winter Annuals

Water winter annuals, such as pansies and violas, after a hard freeze so they can re-hydrate their wilted leaves. Take special care to keep winter containers watered, too, especially those in windy locations where plants are susceptible to desiccation.

Visit Display Gardens

Visit local and regional botanical gardens to see what%s adding ornamental interest to their winter landscapes. Trees with colored or textured bark, dried grasses, shapely conifers, shrubs with bright berries, and winter-blooming plants are but a few of the delights you%ll find.

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