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Garden Planner Jan/Feb 2004

What to plant, what to prune, and what’s in bloom now in Dallas gardens.
By Becky Winn |

Winter Wonderland

Gardening in Dallas is tricky business. Have you ever found yourself rushing out into the dark January night to cover your camellias because a Blue Norther is blowing in? Then replayed this scene in February for your tulips, which are already coming up because it’s been so warm all winter? Be prepared for quick change; don’t get too attached to any particular plants; and keep in mind that the word of the day—every day—is flexibility.



Plan your garden now. Try different plants and experiment with seeds. Remember that packets often contain 100 seeds or more or roughly five flats of plants. Don’t over-order, and don’t over-plant.

If you’re thinking about hiring a landscape designer, call now. By the time spring rolls around professionals are swamped.

Remove debris from flower beds. Fallen leaves create a happy home for insects and diseases. Better to compost them and use them in your beds next season. Note: always throw away obviously diseased plant material.

Plant bare-root roses through mid-February. It’s also a great time to plant trees and shrubs.

Ignore the packet instructions and scatter seeds of larkspur, poppies, and cornflowers. You get stronger plants when they’ve been through some winter weather—sort of a survival-of-the-fittest thing.

Don’t forget to water if we haven’t had much rain—or if it’s about to freeze. Use a garden hose because sprinklers spray water all over the plants, and if the freeze arrives before they can dry, your plants will be covered in ice. Not a good thing.

Apply dormant oil to fruit and landscape trees. Pick a day when the temperature will stay above 40 degrees.

Prune fruit, nut, landscape, and summer flowering trees. Prune crape myrtles, but dont butcher them. The old way of hacking off healthy branches, aka topping, to encourage flowering was always madness. It traumatizes the plant and causes ugly deformities over the years.

Also prune roses, except climbing roses, which bloom on second-year wood.

Check for aphids, and if you find them, buy ladybugs. They’re one of nature’s most effective controls.



in bloom…

Flowering quince
Flowering kale

Flowering crabapples
Pear trees
Carolina Jessamine

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