Avant Gardening

Your February Garden Checklist

The flowers of late winter and early spring occupy places in our hearts well out of proportion to their size.” – Gertrude S. Wister
Are you feeling as if winter will never end? We’re about to hit mid-February and it seems everyone, including the team at Avant Gardening and Landscaping, is tiring of the snow and cold. Fortunately, the days are getting longer. So why not put a smile on, shake off the SAD (seasonal affective disorder), and hang in there, because – Spring is almost here!
Meantime, here’s a few garden-related items to put on your checklist, while you’re waiting:
1. Look for Early-Flowering Bulbs & Plants: With such small stature, the early blooming bulbs can be easy to miss. As the snow melts a little, keep an eye out for winter aconites (Eranthis spp), snow crocus (Crocus chrysanthus), and of course Snowdrops (Galanthus spp). Some Witch hazels (Hamamelis spp) start to bloom as well, its striking contorted petals actually curl inward on chilly days, an adaptive mechanism to protect it from freezing.
2. Stretch Your Legs! Winter is good at keeping us inside… now is the time to just bundle up and get back outdoors. Wait for a sunny day and pull on your snow pants, scarves, mittens & boots (or snow shoes!), and venture over to a local park or nature preserve. There are some really dramatic ice formations that occur by Raymer’s Cove in the UW-Madison Lakeshore Nature Preserve – go check it out!
3. Start Planning for Spring: Most landscape contractors have to maintain a constant state of frenzy the first few months of spring. Contacting Avant Gardening and Landscaping now to get the process started, could really expedite your project! Even with snow, we can come meet with you, discuss your vision and goals, measure your site, and start on a design. If you don’t need us this year – start paging through those plant and seed catalogs.
4. Brush Up on Your Horticulture Knowledge: Many local botanical gardens and garden clubs have educational events, lectures and workshops throughout winter. Peruse the UW Arboretum‘s “Winter Enrichment” lectures for a topic that interests you, or you can also join 20,000 others interested in gardening at the Wisconsin Public Television Garden Expo this February 13-15. There are more than 150 free educational seminars and demonstrations – including a talk on Organic Landscape Maintenance by Avant Gardening’s own Becky Kielstrup!
5. Forcing Flowering Branches Indoors: Trees and shrubs that flower before the leaves emerge work best for forcing – just cut the branch, keep in a cool room with fresh water and wait! Early spring blooming trees and shrubs that work well, include: forsythia, flowering quince, pussy willow, crabapple and serviceberry.