January is half over and I am very behind on chores. When the weather is bad, it’s a good time to look at plant catalogues and build your dream garden. My “to do” lists become long this time of year.
I’m getting questions about roses and pruning times. In a nutshell, climbing roses should not be pruned before they bloom in the early spring. You can always cut out dead wood and broken branches. Antique roses, which bloom in the spring, should only be pruned after they have bloomed. Cut them enough to shape the plant, plus remove all broken, damaged and dead branches. Hybrid roses should be trimmed to one-half in February, around Valentine’s Day. This is a good time to feed all of the plants and mulch them.
If you have Purple Martins or birds that normally stay in your yard, you need to clean out the birdhouses.
Most water gardens need to be cleaned out at least once a year. If you drain the pond, make sure the fish container is large enough for the fish that you must remove. There needs to be enough oxygen for the amount of fish. Cut out the dead plants from the previous year and remove the algae. This is also a good time to add new water plants and feed the existing lilies, etc. Use food tablets for aquatics. You may try throwing corn meal into the pond. Stand on the side of the pond, throw out the corn meal, and continue to move around the pond until it is covered. If you have a large pond, consider 400 lbs per acre. There is a liquid that I use, Beckett Pond Clarifier.
There are several new plants you might look for this spring; Superbells, Blackberry Punch, Calibrachoa, Coconut Ice Sunflower (white sunflower), Black Velvet Petunia, Shock Wave Denim Petunia, Vanilla Strawberry Hydrangea, Summer Jewel Red Salvia, and Mandevilla Vivian. There will be others showing up in the garden centers, but these are some that will work in our area.
Possumhaw Holly (Ilex Decidua) is the small red-berried tree showing up in the South Texas landscape. The berries are a favorite of many Texas birds. This time of the year, they have lost their leaves and only the red berries can be seen. They are a brilliant addition to a bland landscape. They reach a height of 10-20 feet and are 5-10 feet wide. Insects and disease aren’t a problem. They are native.