Plants and imagination can deliver message of love

Happy Valentine’s Day!  After the hard winter we’ve had, especially the brutal arctic fronts of the last two weeks with their lingering snow deposits, the bright colors and scents of beautiful flowers will be even more special to show our love to our Valentine Sweethearts today.

Hopefully you have been able to locate those special flowers that bring back the best memories and show the depth of your love to your special “honey” as flowers have done so effectively for centuries. Plants allow a lot of imagination to deliver the message of love.  A buddy told me he gave his wife a tree some years ago and this year he is carving their initials in a heart on that tree as their love and that tree has grown.

Two week ago we talked about the early bird gardeners just starting to plant onions, potatoes and many of the other cool season leafy vegetables and root crops.  Since then, the ground has been covered constantly by snow and ice and we have been in the Oklahoma deep freeze!  As soon as you can dig in the ground, we are now into the main planting season for cool season vegetable crops between Valentine’s Day and St. Patrick’s Day. Visit your local nursery or garden center to buy vegetable seeds, onion plants or sets and seed potatoes as well as strawberries, rhubarb, asparagus and bare root grapes, raspberries, and black berries to start your food gardening for this year,

This is the time to spray your peach trees and nectarines with lime sulfur to prevent peach leaf curl later in the season. Spray your other trees and shrubs with a good grade of dormant oil to kill scale insects, spider mites and other insects that may have survived the winter and to reduce pest problems later this year.

This is a great time to feed your trees and shrubs so that their roots are well nourished and able to take full advantage as their sap starts flowing. The biggest growth spurt of the year occurs with spring “leaf-out” and so feeding now will benefit your fruit and nut trees as well as your ornamental trees and shrubs.

This is pruning season for your deciduous trees, shrubs and rose bushes. Do not prune early spring flowering shrubs like quince and forsythia until after they flower. Make nice clean cuts to shape your tree or shrub noting the bud below the cut will be the main new shoot after your cut. This allows you to select how your tree or shrub will shape. Use good sharp hand pruners, loppers or saws to get good cuts and then paint larger wounds to reduce borer and pest problems.

Hopefully we have our worst winter weather behind us and we can all get serious about preparing our flower beds and planting our cool season vegetables.

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