Garden Notes: February flowers – The Martha’s Vineyard Times

Greg Stevens

We are much from the steady ages of the Holocene period, and are now firmly in the throes of the Anthropocene.

“Who can see the eco-friendly earth any much more/ As she was by the resources of Time?/ Who imagines her fields as they lay/ In the sunshine, unworn by the plough?”  –Matthew Arnold, “The Future”

“The conversion of forests to agricultural makes use of is the second major source of atmospheric carbon dioxide emissions right after fossil gasoline combustion.”  –ecologist Ghislain Vieilledent, CIRAD (a French agricultural research and cooperation group doing work for the sustainable growth of tropical and Mediterranean locations)

“If all 30 million U.K. gardeners planted a medium-measurement tree in their neighborhood, college, office, or yard, and nurtured it to maturity, they would retail outlet enough carbon equal to drive you additional than 11 million moments all over our world.”  –Royal Horticultural Modern society

Could we purpose for that in this article on Martha’s Winery?

In the back garden

Amid stunning birdsong in early February, I scattered my saved once-a-year poppy seeds. There is no snow protect, so I solid them to the breeze and hoped they were evenly dispersed.

Inspect netting and fencing, due to the fact deer can and will head-butt them off, if feasible. “Deer-resistant” is a inclination, not a actuality. At the time February ailments or snow go over kick in, deer start off browsing on anything they can come across, like vegetation that they are not “supposed” to try to eat.

Recently a Thujopsis dolobrata (Hiba arborvitae) “deer-resistant” and unbrowsed for at least a decade in area, appeared to my dismay shorn and really diminished. Up with the fencing, right before a adhere is all that is left.

In the yard realm, we count seriously upon the rewards plastics lend our initiatives. A distinct back garden menace is the lightweight “bird netting” (a.k.a. the merchandise from hell), which is used to include berries and other bushes to protect against fruit or flower decline. The fantastic, monofilament-like threads are like minimal knives. Fowl netting catches on clothes, tangles very easily, and is definitely hard to see getting rid of it success in snagging twigs, slicing leaves, and popping off flower buds and buttons.

Many years in the past, Susan Murphy pointed to the use of tulle at her Chilmark blueberry farm for the very same functions: softer, fewer high-priced, and may perhaps be acquired by the property.

If you presently have parts of this netting lying close to amid your backyard supplies, make confident to use them nicely. Any discarded ghost bits and parts pose a menace to modest animals and birds, entangling and trapping them — the land equivalent of plastic six-pack rings to maritime existence.

Smaller sections can be designed into climbing supports for vining houseplants employed to stop buck-rubbing on tree trunks pieced together with twist ties, wire, cable ties, or twine to safe tops of wire cages and surrounds surrounds for decorative containers’ rabbit defense. In warm temperature I circle massive containers with random cutoffs stretched all around slender bamboo to defend plants from rabbits, hens, and deer.

Creeping hardiness zone

I have beforehand outlined the contradictions for gardeners of local climate adjust and world warming. One can scarcely be unaware of them if one is paying focus. Now we enjoy snowdrops and daffodils in January, and yearned-for garden crops that ended up not feasible in colder decades earlier. Along with Magnolia grandiflora (southern magnolia) and Lagerstroemia (crape myrtle), Nandina domestica is a different member of the Middle Atlantic/Southern area plant repertoire we are now ready to expand and delight in.


I used to admire the hedges and embankments of nandina on visits to the Chesapeake Japanese Shore 40 several years ago, and ogled how luxuriant the results of shining evergreen foliage, with panicles of coral berries amid it, have been. Then nandina appeared like the nicest addition to just about any planting, irrespective of how vulnerable and unsound to plant it at dwelling. Now we can have it survive in this article, and I mature it.

Nandina is indigenous to Asia, and is also acknowledged as “heavenly bamboo.” It unquestionably is wonderful, but is in the Berberidaceae, not in the bamboo (grass) spouse and children. In summer time, a blooming plant is laden with clusters of white bouquets, which in change develop into the attractive coral fruits just after pollination.

Grown in high-quality, moisture-retentive soil in great mild, nandina’s white bouquets, fruits, and foliage provide excellent attractive characteristics and shade in autumn, possibly even blazing to the issue of remaining garish. In additional shaded spots, foliage is possible to stay deep green throughout wintertime, and nandina is also a superior decision for semishaded woodland gardens.

Nandina is developed in a substantial quantity of cultivars: “Dirr’s Manual of Woody Landscape Plants” lists 35, from the six- to eight-foot-tall species to groundcover dwarves. There are also yellow- and white-berried varieties. Taller sorts make excellent screening mid-top and dwarf kinds are graceful additions to foundation plantings, shrub borders, combined backyard beds, or containers.

At the time set up, nandina slowly spreads by rhizomes, with new canes rising to sort a clump. The species and taller cultivars might grow to be leggy, and if you discover this taking place, now (late winter/early spring) is the time to prune to thicken up the clump. Prune about a single-3rd of the canes: Lower just one or two to the floor, lower one or two by about two-thirds, and cut a single or two by a third.


Wisteria frequently bouquets extra freely if it is pruned 2 times a yr, in July as a result of August, and then again in January via February. The whippy summer expansion is shortened back again in August to five or six leaves, and then those people are once more shortened back again, to two or a few buds (fat brown ones) now, that will deliver panicles of flowers. Some development can be removed completely to market fantastic airflow.

Wisteria is a sturdy-growing vine. It has a predilection for foundations, gutters, shingles, and trim boards: Continue to keep an eye on this a person! Do not be scared to prune out unneeded advancement.


By February’s conclude, most clematis vines show signs of daily life in significant paired buds at nodes on the stems. Clematis vines are pruned based on the plants’ category, I, II, or III. Most of the prized, big-flowered hybrids are grouped in II, pruned in late winter or early spring for June flowering, and are then presented a cleanup pruning (ideally) once again to advertise additional flowering later in the time.

Slice away final year’s advancement across the vine’s stems to pairs of robust buds about two toes earlier mentioned the crown. Tie these in, to help the stems, which are very brittle.

The most normally encountered group III clematis listed here is very likely to be C. paniculata, the sweet autumn clematis. Team III, also which include species this sort of as C. texensis, C. viticella, and C. jackmanii, are late summertime bloomers, flowering on the recent season’s progress. Prune all team III’s down to the crown in spring, since every thing they generate over the summer is on new expansion. The most ordinarily developed team I clematis is C. Montana. It is usually not pruned at all prune it and all group I’s after bloom.


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