The early cold has really been with us a long time this year and showing frost burn on the tender plants. But it is also a good thing to provide that dormancy needed for the cold hardy plants. An amazing year with blooms already happening. The camellias are ahead of typical bloom time this year. Wintersweet has been in bloom for a month already. It has been dry and we need the rains, but the good side to all this is that we have dry weather to do gardening chores. Clean up and pruning are made easier with dry ground. And planting is also easier since we are not working in muddy conditions. In planting, it is important to water in new plants very well. This initial watering helps settle the soil so plants can begin growing into the native soil site immediately.
I have already seen frost burn on citrus. The nursery is in a cold location now. I am also looking to move once again. Too much negativity at this site.
Planting bareroot will soon begin. And all spring bulbs should have been planted by now. Trees and shrubs can all be planted now and until spring. (wait if they are tender species, however, until spring frosts are past)
It has been a very good year for chrysanthemums. I have offered the hard to find spider and quill form bloomers. You just never see them around anymore.
There is going to be a big international magnolia conference in the county next Mar. 2, 2012 and I will be one of the guest speakers. If you have any magnolia questions, this is the place to be!
All the early bloomers will likely be later this year due to the amount of cold temps we are having. The Chinese new year is early this year and so blooming branches will be in demand and probably not available unless they plants are put into a greenhouse. (it is in Jan this year, very early) and with the cold, it could be like last year when the late period of cold delayed blossoming of the typical plants like flowering quince and peach and the less common Prunus mume/ flowering plum/apricot.
Continue to water well all the plants in the garden. Dryness coupled with cold is not good for keeping the plant healthy. It is especially important for species that have set their buds and bloom in spring, like camellias, azaleas and rhododendrons. Dryness of the plant now will be a critical factor in the quality of the spring bloom. If the plant dries out, then so will those flower buds and you will not have a good bloom later!
The winter rains will come, just maybe late this year.
Remember that garden sanitation is very important at this time of year also. Removal of all harboring places for insects and their eggs, and diseases will make next year’s gardening problems kept at a minimum!