February- What's in Kate's Garden?


In My Garden (Zone 5-6)

Kate Copsey
Kate has relocated many times giving her experience in gardening from sandy upstate New York to Georgia clay and many areas between. She currently gardens in Central New Jersey. Kate also hosts the popular radio show “America’s Home Grown Veggies” heard every Saturday on America’s Wb Radio.

So far the year has giving a lot of snow to some areas but we just had the rain and a few inches of snow over the total month. That however does not mean that it was warm – frigid temperature and no snow makes for rock hard ground and some frost heaving of roots that are near the surface. Short of putting a little more spare mulch down or scraping some loose leaves over them there is not much that I can do except wait and see what spring brings.

Evergreens look great in winter particularly with a fresh dusting of snow but with no snow and cloudy skies, winter is very dreary unless there is something in bloom inside. The Christmas Cacti took care of December and then the amaryllis was the star of January which are now over. Not wanting to wait until spring for more blooms to show, I trimmed a few branches of the forsythia at the beginning of January and they are now in bloom. I pick a few branches every couple of weeks so that I always have something in bloom.

Forsythia blooms indoors

I do have one bright spot outside and that is the witch hazel which is blooming with a lovely red bloom. These very hardy shrubs are one of only a few shrubs that are happy to bloom in winter – December through February depending on variety. Most have bright, cheerful yellow blooms but this one is Amethyst which is slightly more unusual.

Amethyst Witch Hazel

What always amazes me though is that even though the ground is solid, the little snow drops still find a way through and are already peeping up! I hope that in the next few weeks as temperature moderate a little, they will bloom. Other signs that winter is slowly passing are the buds on shrubs. The hydrangeas and forsythia show that the buds are swelling and although they are far from opening they are a promise of a lovely spring.

In the little sunroom the peas are growing happily and although this is not known for great foliage we have snipped some to stir fry for dinner. The lettuce pot is still producing too but looking a little ragged after heavy harvests over the Christmas holiday season.

Peas growing indoors

The next few weeks will see me browsing the site for seeds to start. Top of my list is the Masterpiece Pea that was so successful last year. I also plan on getting more snow peas – last year I grew mainly shelling peas but they take a while to fill out and I wanted to start harvesting early!




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Gardening Tip of the Day

  • If you live in an area that receives regular snowfall, some trees are better choices than others where road salts are used to improve driving and walking conditions. Avoid planting red maple, white pine, swamp white oak and little leaf linden near roadways.

    Trees tolerant of salt include Norway maple, green ash, ginkgo, honey locust, Bradford pear, and English and red oak.