Wednesday, February 29, 2012

New Five Senses container garden...

--by volunteer and Girl Scout Troop 2701 member Cori Weaver

Stand outside and you hear the whistling of the grass?  Take a deep breath; is it a sweet smell or a tangy one?  Look around you; do you see vibrant colors or deep hues?  Touch the plants; are they soft or pokey?  Have you ever tasted a mint leaf straight from the plant?  Stimulating all five senses can be very relaxing.  A senses garden can do just that.  A senses garden incorporates plants that exercise all of the senses.

On February 26, 2012, three girls of Girl Scout Troop 2701 aided in the planting of a senses garden at Log Cabin Village (with guidance from Village interpreter/Troop Leader Teresa Weaver and direction from Village interpreter Pat Kriener).  Taking old containers, the girls planted five different things, each representing a different sense.  Working hard, they filled the containers first with dead leaves to become compost.  Then they added organic fertilizer.  Next they planted the sound and sight.  For the other three senses, the girls dug up a portion of the plants from an already existing herb garden.  With all the plants planted, their senses garden was complete.  There was:  grass for sound, oregano for smell, marigold and pansies for sight, lamb's ear for touch, and lemon balm for taste.

 As the wind blows, the grass dances and makes a rustling sound.  The strong-scented oregano can tickle any nose.  Marigold and pansies have bright colors that catch the eye.  The lambs ear feels like just that--this plant has soft leaves that you can't resist petting.  Lemon balm, when added to tea, can be very relaxing without causing drowsiness.

Note from Rena (Village Educator and Collections Manager):  We hope y'all will come out and see Cori and Troop 2701's hard work!  Many other exciting updates are planned for the herb garden, so come check those out as well!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Garden Tips for February

          --By historical interpreter and Master Gardener Pat Kriener

Note:  these tips are specific to North Texas, so contact your local Master Gardeners for information on YOUR region...
Winter honeysuckle in bloom at Log Cabin Village

February is for Pruning! Sharpen those tools and give your yard a massive haircut.  I know we have had flooding rains lately, so wildfires are probably not on the top of your list of priorities. But with summer coming, wildfires are always a threat. Since you are in the pruning mood, don’t forget to remove dead trees, limbs and plants near the house. For more information about wildfires and how to prevent them contact the Texas Forest Service.
  • Annuals – prune back any damage and deadhead to encourage new growth and flowering. We still have a few months that cool weather plants will thrive but keep a look out for some of the hardier spring annuals to arrive. Dianthus, pansies, snapdragons and violas are some of the hardiest for winter.  Plant by seed into the ground alyssum, annual phlox, calendula, and nasturtium and stock.

  • Bulbs – Plant gladiolus now and in mid to late Feb. Plant caladium bulbs. If you find spring bulbs on sale at this time remember they will not do well if planted so late but if you come across some amaryllis or paper-whites that look good and haven’t started to sprout snap those up and plant. Early Spring Bulbs are up & growing in the beds, watch for the early bloomers such as paper-whites and daffodils. Start planning for next month when it’s time to divide your summer bulbs.

  • Compost Bin – Throw all clipping, leaves, vegetable and garden waste in the compost. Top-dress all beds & trees with’s a wonderful slow release fertilizer.

  • Container Plants – Prune and reshape evergreens, deadhead and trim back winter flowers to encourage new growth & blooms.

  • Fruits & Nuts- Prune Fruit trees now, plant B&B, bare root and container grown trees. Start looking for bush fruit: blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries. Vine fruits:  grapes & muscadines.  

  • Greenhouse – Even in the green house make sure your plants are mulched. Check all over-wintering plants for winter damage, disease, fungus and pests. Watch temperatures and airflow. Start spring annual plants & vegetables by seed  for planting in 6 to 8 weeks.

  • Herbs – Want an easy to grow landscape plant that mounds up to 2 feet tall and wide, drought tolerant, tolerates poor soil, full sun and blooms white for a great show in spring? Look no further than your common culinary oregano.

  • Lawn – Mow or cut back winter grass & weeds to keep them under control. Talk to your local garden center about additional ways to control them. Hopefully organic! Don’t bag those leaves...mulch them for fertilizer or place in compost

  • Mulch now to protect your plants from the summer heat without getting heatstroke.

  • Perennials – At the end of Feb. or after we have had at least 2 hard freezes prune back all dead material. This is still a great time to move them and to top dress with compost and mulch

  • Problems - To learn more about plant diseases and pests contact your local Extension Agent, Master Gardener or Garden Center.

  • Roses – Tea roses--prune on Valentines Day to about 15 inches tall. EarthKind Roses do not need pruning other than to remove dead or damaged limbs.  Top dress and mulch existing roses.

  • Tools – this is the time to do tune-ups on mowers, tillers, shredders, chainsaws and any other garden equipment. All hand tools need to be oiled and cleaned especially your pruning equipment to get ready for February pruning.

  • Trees – Prune back dead limbs and low hanging branches. Do not prune oaks unless it is around 30 degrees to keep Oak Wilt from spreading. Plant trees, trees and more trees.

  • Vegetable Garden –Plan your Spring Garden NOW! Get your materials ready for seed propagation; seed mats, pots, soil and seeds. Start cool weather and spring seeds inside to be planted in 6 to 8 weeks. Plant transplants of beets, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, Chinese cabbage, collards, English & snow peas, Irish potatoes, kale, kohlrabi, leeks, mustard, onion sets, shallot sets, spinach & turnips. Cleanup beds, add compost, and cover with mulch.  

  • Watering – Water in a 7-day cycle if we do not get any rain.

  • Wildlife In the Garden - Bats & bluebirds will be looking for spring homes soon so get those houses up now. Make a Mason Bee Home using 3 inch thick by 6 inch long cedar plank. Drill holes 1 and a half round and 2 inches deep. Make sure to clean out debris from the holes; a bottle brush is good for this. Why go to all of this trouble?  Bats eat mosquitoes, bluebirds eat grasshoppers and mason bees pollinate your vegetables and fruit trees.