February blooms a wonder to behold

February is one of my favorite months in the garden.

Daphne flowers perfume the air, camellia plants bow heavily with blossoms, tulip magnolia trees create striking displays of boldly colored saucers and yellow, trumpet-shaped flowers from Carolina Jessamine beam along fences and trellises. There is so much color to be enjoyed in February, yet garden chores still need to be completed.

Daphne shrubs have basil-shaped, leathery leaves of either dark green or dark green with yellow margins. The branches are mahogany colored and flexible. Daphne starts to bloom in February, and the flowers last almost through March. Tight clusters of pink buds slowly open to expose white, star-shaped flowers. The clusters can easily be ¾-1½ inches wide. Although the flowers of Daphne are beautiful, it’s the fragrance that is absolutely intoxicating. Install Daphne in mostly shade with partial sun.

Camellia japonicas are also just beginning to pop into bloom. Large, peony-shaped flowers in all shades of red, pink and white cover the dense shrub this time of year. Camellias are forgiving bushes but do best when installed in filtered light or morning sun. Keep camellias looking their best by fertilizing regularly and pruning after flowering.

Tulip magnolia trees are spring’s most dramatic ornamental tree. They display huge, goblet-shaped flowers of cream, purple, mauve and red. These sought-after installations do great in full to afternoon sun. They thrive in the spring months, but summer sun can burn their leaves. This is expected, and the spring beauty is worth every bit of the summer burn. Tulip magnolia trees can reach 10-15 feet tall and about half as wide, so plan accordingly before installation.

Carolina Jessamine is a vine that blooms February through most of March. Generically called yellow jasmine, it has a shrubby tendency and does well grown around a post. Install in full to afternoon sun. Young vines do best when pruned back after bloom to promote dense foliage growth.

If you haven’t done so yet, it’s time to give stone fruit trees their final application of copper fungicide. This late winter application is the most important and should be done while the trees are in bud, but before buds open. Those who have struggled with pests should also apply dormant spray oil to fruit trees and citrus at this time.

As the winter rains continue, it’s an excellent opportunity to apply multi-purpose granular fertilizer beneath the drip lines of landscape shrubs and ornamental trees. You can also apply multi-purpose granular fertilizer in flower beds.

If you want to install summer vegetables, begin to get control of your veggie beds. Hand pull weeds, top off soil levels with a nutrient-rich soil conditioner and add organic ingredients such as alfalfa meal and bone meal. Begin preparations now to ensure rich growing conditions once it’s time to install.

Nicole is the Garden Girl at R&M Pool, Patio, Gifts and Garden. You can contact her with ­questions or comments by email at gardengirl94517@yahoo.com

Nicole Hackett
Nicole Hackett

Nicole is the Garden Girl at R&M Pool, Patio, Gifts and Garden. You can contact her with ­questions or comments by email at gardengirl94517@yahoo.com