Springmoor Floral Focal Points: Sustainable Landscapes
- Containers: They come in all shapes, color, sizes and materials. Most varieties of vegetables, herbs and dwarf fruit trees do well in containers, provided that the container is deep enough. Two feet minimum in depth would allow enough room for roots to grow. Deeper would be better, except the weight of the container then becomes an issue.
- Dwarf Fruit Trees: A dwarf fruit tree is one that gets about 10 feet tall, and eight feet in diameter. Ultra dwarfs are only six feet tall. Varieties of fruit trees that are available in dwarf form are: Apple, pears, cherries, peach, plum, nectarines and apricot. Most are labeled self-fertile, and you can save space by planting one tree, but your chances of getting fruit are greatly reduced. So, always purchase two different varieties when buying fruit trees. Make sure they are two varieties that bloom within a couple weeks of each other to be successful. This information is available online from fruit tree growers such as Stark Brother’s.
- Variety: If you don’t even have room for dwarf fruit trees or vegetables, try planting smaller-growing varieties. Blueberries are very easy to grow, get about eight feet tall, and can be kept smaller. Strawberries can be substituted for ground cover along a walkway. Kiwi vine, raspberries, and blackberries do not take up much room width-wise, and only grow as tall as you allow on a support system.
- Try a different season: Most fruits and vegetables require full sun, and if you do not have it, try growing at a different time of year. I have great success in the fall and early spring with root crops and leafy crops. At home, I receive more sunlight as the leaves fall in the surrounding woods.
- Try root crops: Carrots, potatoes, onions, garlic and turnips do just fine, and I have great success each year with broccoli, collards, spinach, lettuce, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and cabbage.
- Avoid heavy drinkers like watermelon, cantaloupe and corn if you cannot provide enough water. Peppers and egg plant like hot, and not too moist, conditions, while rosemary and artichoke are the cactus of the herb and vegetable world.
- The Red Maple (Acer Rubrum) by my office is in full bloom. Not known for it’s showy flowers, it does get thousands of tiny red flowers at this time of year.
- Flowering Quince “Jet Trails” (Chaenomeles speciosa Jet Trail) has white flowers which are opening up right now.
- Star Magnolia (Magnolia stellata) will be in full bloom by the end of February.
- Flowering Apricot (Prunus mume) is in full bloom now with its thousands of coral pink flowers.
- Winter Daphne (Daphne odorata) is still blooming, but the leaves got fried during the single digit temperatures we experienced.
- Winter jasmine (Jasminum nudiflorum) is still in bloom with its yellow, forsythia-like flowers.
- Leather leaf mahonia (Mahonia beali) greets all that enter our administration building with its yellow flowers.
- Prune hybrid tea roses back to about 12 inches, leave about three to five healthy canes. Remove any dead wood and weak branches.
- Fertilize roses. I like to do this on Valentine’s Day. Most of the rose fertilizers are applied at six week intervals, which puts the last feeding perfectly in August. I like to use Bayer’s Rose Pride: It has the nutrients roses like plus insecticide is introduced into the plant before the aphids and Japanese beetles come calling.
- It is probably going to be later this year, but I like to plant snow peas, carrots, spinach, carrots and potatoes the first week of February.
- Fertilize any trees, and shrubs you planted the previous year. Use 8/8/8, or 10/10/10 once a month per directions until August.