Shady Way Gardens Bits and Briefs February 2002
HAWORTHIAS, DESERT MARIGOLD, RABBIT PLANTS

FEBRUARY

Although February is the month that's not quite the end of winter but not quite the beginning of Spring and every year is different, it is generally a good month to plant trees of any kind.  Just be sure to protect Citrus, Ficus and other sensitive plants from frost.  this is also the traditional month to fertilize Citrus.  Use citrus food and follow package directions or use ammonium sulfate at the rate of 2# per 100 square feet.  To avoid burning surface roots make sure the area under the branches is wet at least 18" down.  You can use a piece of rebar to test water penetration.  The rebar will go easily into wet soil but stop at dry soil.  If trees have begun flowering, skip the February fertilizing as this may cause flowers to drop.  Grapefruit skins extremely thick?  The tree probably got too much nitrogen at some point, but eating quality should not be affected.

Plant Tomato and Pepper plants through February and protect from cold.  You can still plant Lettuce, Chard and Spinach plants, but this month is generally too late for veggies like Cabbage, Broccoli, Brussel Sprouts and Cauliflower as these plants don't like it warm.  Petunias, Alyssum, Lobelia, Dianthus and other winter annuals planted in February will look good until May and maybe into June if the weather is not unduly hot.  Geraniums are perennials and can live for years but will look ugly and yellow during hot months.

HAWORTHIA

What on earth is a Haworthia??  And why would I want one?  You probably wouldn't want one unless you like nifty little succulents.  These tufted gems are from southern Africa and are sort of the Hens & Chicks of the arid world.  they are interesting, small subjects for shady nooks, boulder pockets and containers.  Two basic forms exist.  One, the windowed type, has softish leaves with translucent areas.  The other form has hard leaves sometimes arranged in dense columns and often having raised white spots and lines.  Haworthias are members of the lily family, but their small, white flowers which appear on long stalks are not expecially showy.  Botanical names for some groups are mixed up due to disagreements among botanists, so you're not alone if you find the names confusing.  These succulents prefer well drained soil that should be allowed to dry down between waterings.  Many species are freely offsetting and can be easily separated to make more plants.

RABBIT PLANTS

First hand information from Barbara the Shady Way Garden Lady is that bunnies do not like Arugula, Mustard Greens, Collard Greens, Artichokes, Osteospermum, Argyranthemum Daisys, Alyssum, or Red Salvia.  These plants survived unscathed by hordes of grazing rabbits that were so abundant through the summer and fall.  Other plants like Lettuce, wildflower seedlings, Pansies, Gazanias and Cabbage did not fare so well.  Barbara also says those little heart shaped seedlings sprouting in your yard are not valentines from Mother Nature but gifts from below, destined to become huge, noxious weeds.

DESERT MARIGOLD

Been pounding the pavement for the elusive and much sought after BAILEYA MULTIRADIATA?  We've got some dandy one gallon plants available now.  Better known as Desert Marigold, this small, gray leaved native has yellow daisy flowers and is common along roadsides and in natural desert areas.  It is a very desirable plant for xerophytic gardens and once established needs little or no supplemental water.  Your harshest, driest area is to its liking.  Once a few plants have been growing, they will reseed themselves in their own time into a self-perpetuating garden with no help from you.  We also have seeds of this and other native flowers available.

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Web Comments george@mswn.com September 13, 2004 Shady Way Nursery 2004