Love in the air and drought in the Oklahoma ground!

Love is in the air and Valentine’s Day will be here in just a few days.  Flowers are one of the best ways to express love and to share joy and appreciation.  For centuries we have shared flowers and plants to celebrate and commemorate our love, respect, adoration and affection.  In our part of the world, fresh colorful flowers are even more symbolic and enjoyable at this time of year as winter, with its symphony of brown and green surrounds us in nature and before the bulbs and trees begin to bloom in spring.

Our local florists bring in fresh cut flowers from local greenhouses and literally all over the world so you can provide your sweetheart the traditional long stemmed roses or a bunch of blooming tulips or daffodils.  Carnations and chrysanthemums are still a favorite but gerbera daisies, anthurium, lilies and a host of tropical or exotic cut flowers are now available at your local florist from the Netherlands, Africa, Israel and South America. You can do a bunch, bokay or arrangement of a single flower type that may be special for your loved one or a mixed bokay that focuses on a favorite color or a part of the world where you have traveled and have special memories together.

Many folks love a good mixed bokay of flowers that look more like a spring flower festival.  You can trust your local florist to build a bokay of the prettiest flowers they have in the shop or ask them to design a bokay around roses or bird of paradise or some other flower special to you and your loved one.

As lovely and thrilling as fresh cut flowers are to spark a romance or trigger special memories together, some couples prefer to share live plants.  You can share potted blooming plants of cyclamen, tulips, daffodils, hyacinth, kalanchoe, chrysanthemum, anthurium or bromeliads.  Some sweethearts love foliage or house plants to keep alive year round to celebrate your love.  Gardening sweethearts may prefer a tree or shrub, rose bush or a gift certificate from their favorite nursery or garden center so they can pick out their own plants to celebrate Valentine’s Day and take a permanent spot in your yard.

It has been freezing most every night this week reminding us that we are still in winter even though the sun is getting brighter and the days are getting longer.  We are actually into gardening season with an increasing list of things we can be doing and even planting in the garden.  Ornamental trees, shrubs and cool season vegetables lead the planting  list but we can also plant fruit trees and many types of berries and small fruits at this time.

This is prime time to plant potatoes, onion sets and onion plants over the next four weeks to enjoy a harvest this season.  Plant cabbage, cauliflower, lettuce, carrots and Swiss chard as you start your vegetable garden.  Plant asparagus, rhubarb and horseradish crowns over the next month so you can harvest produce for years to come.

If you have always wanted to start a vineyard to raise your own fresh grapes or wine grapes this is the best time of year to plant bareroot grapes and begin your vineyard.  Plant raspberries, blackberries, boysenberries, blueberries, gooseberries and youngberries so you can pick your own fresh berries for cobblers, pies or to just eat off the bush.   Strawberries grow short, almost like a groundcover plant but can produce those tasty red fruit that are so healthy for you.  Planting bareroot strawberry plants over the next month is the least expensive way to start your own strawberry patch.

We are in another bad drought and we are seeing lots of leaf burn and lost leaves on our broadleaf evergreens and even some needle evergreens.  Please use the next nice warm day to hook up your water hose and give your evergreens a good watering so they can make it through the rest of the winter without being “freeze dried” or dehydrating, even to death.  A good watering can actually save plant lives at this point of our long dry winter.

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