Monthly Archives: February 2017


February Gardening Tips

Hello Friends, Neighbors, Fellow Gardeners,

Now that Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow, it is time to start planning for the Spring! Here are some garden tips, educational opportunities, and events for February. Events include Maple Sugaring Days, Dealing with Deer and Other Mammals and Pests in Your Garden, a Plant Clinic at Brookside Gardens, Go Green CSA Talk at the Kentlands , Green Matters Symposium, Montgomery County Master Gardener Spring Gardening Conference in Derwood MD, an Art Night program on Tuesday, February 28th at our Mill Creek Towne Garden Club’s meeting,  and more!


  • Select and order fruit plants.
  • Decide on new tree/shrub locations.seed packets with border
  • Design new beds and gardens.
  • Plan landscape design projects.
  • Pick up new gardening books and magazines for inspiration.
  • Collect supplies for starting seeds.
  • Clean, sharpen, oil, and replace tools as needed.
  • Clean and organize the garden shed.
  • Build garden furniture.
  • Attend a local garden club meeting.
  • Go on a local house or garden tour to see what plants are thriving in other’s area home gardens:

Flowers and Groundcovers:

  • Hardy spring bulbs begin to emerge (crocus, snowdrops, daffodils, and tulips).
  • Deadhead pansies.
  • Pull out ornamental cabbages and kale.
  • Lightly fertilize bulbs when green starts to show.

    crocus flower
  • Transplant seedlings into individual 3″ – 4″ pots when crowded. Fertilize transplants with half strength houseplant fertilizer (every 2 weeks).
  • Start seeds for: Portulaca (2nd week); Flowering Tobacco (3rd week); Ageratum, China Aster, Cleome, Dwarf Marigolds, Salvia, Tall Snapdragons, Verbana (4th week).
  • Prune roses.
  • Divide overgrown or crowded perennials such as daylily and Shasta daisy.
  • Clear perennial beds of any dead plant parts and debris.
  • Walk your yard to check plants and bulbs for heaving and place them back into the ground. Cover with more mulch to prevent further heaving.
  • Mulch bare areas.
  • Water transplants if weather is dry.
  • Provide some special protection to tender and early flowering plants like Camellias.
  • Plant the bulbs you forgot to plant last fall!
  • Start seeds for Petunia, Dwarf Snapdragons. Check daily for moisture.
  • Avoid walking in frozen planting beds.
  • Pests to watch for: Squirrels, Deer
  • Diseases to watch for:  Damping off of seedlings.
  • See UMD’s HGIC’s February Flower tips for more details.

Trees and Shrubs:

  • Prune broken, dead, or diseased branches.
  • Prune maples, dogwoods, birch, elm, walnut, and yellowwood to prevent “bleeding”.
  • Rejuvenate holly bushes and boxwood with a hard pruning.evergreen
  • Cut some branches (forsythia, quince, bittersweet, redbud, willow, etc.) for forcing indoors.
  • Spray with dormant oil to decrease pest infestations.
  • Plant or transplant trees or shrubs, including berries, roses, and evergreens.
  • Remove dead and dying trees.
  • Root prune trees and shrubs to be transplanted next year.
  • Apply scale and dormant oil treatment to evergreens.
  • Begin pruning of summer flowering shrubs.
  • Keep watering newly planted trees and shrubs as needed.
  • Water slowly and deeply if weather is very dry and ground is not frozen.
  • Fertilize trees, shrubs, and evergreens.
  • Gently remove layers of snow from outdoor evergreens with a broom.
  • Keep an eye open for bark damage from rabbits and deer.
  • Spray broadleaf evergreens with anti-dessicant and prevent dehydration.
  • Pests to watch for: Deer, rabbits, scale, vole.
  • Diseases to watch for: Botryophaeria canker, Black knot on Prunus
  • See HGIC’s February Trees and Shrubs Tips for more details.

Herbs, Veggies, and Fruit:

  • Start seedlings indoors under grow lights (peppers, artichokes, onions, beets, turnips, cabbage, kale, and leeks).
  • Sow greens indoors or outdoors in cold frame.growing seeds photo
  • Do an annual soil test and amend soils as recommended.
  • Put up trellises and teepees for peas and beans to climb on.
  • Direct-sow early, cool-season crops as soon as ground can be worked. Good choices are peas, lettuces, mustards, onion sets, kale, and cabbages.
  • Protect tender plants by covering them up with some type of cloth material, if an unusually cold day or night is forecast. Be sure to uncover when it warms up.
  • Apply dormant oil to fruit trees.
  • Start seeds for: Cabbage, chives, fennel, sage, thyme, and rosemary.
  • Begin successive plantings of peas using inoculant.
  • Keep ice-melting chemicals away from garden beds. Use coarse sand instead.
  • Pests to watch for: Fruit flies, Squash vine borer, slugs.
  • Diseases to watch for: Damping off of seedlings.
  • Here are some more fruit and vegetable gardening tips for February from UMD’s HGIC.


  • Start lawn seeding. Reseed bare spots or overseed (through early April).
  • Clean yard of all leaves and other debris.
  • Trim ornamental grasses such as liriope, mondo, and pampas.
  • Apply pre-emergent weed control such as corn gluten.
  • Check and tune-up power equipment (mowers and trimmers).
  • Avoid walking on frozen grass to avoid damaging the crowns.
  • Store your fertilizer and seeds in rodent-proof containers.
  • Do any filling and grading around your yard. The soil will settle during the winter months.keep_calm_compost
  • Some alternatives to de-icing salts include sand, beet juice sugars, light gravel (grit), or non-clumping kitty litter. Use de-icing salts around driveways and sidewalks can harm your garden plants and turf.
  • Start or turn your compost pile.
  • Mulch or compost healthy leaves.
  • Get your lawn mower serviced.
  • Clean your gutters.
  • Turn your compost pile weekly and don’t let it dry out. Work compost into your planting beds.
  • Diseases to watch for: dollar spot, brown patch and red thread
  • Pests to watch for: Grubs, voles
  • See HGIC’s February Lawn Tips for more details.


  • Begin to pot up rooted cuttings. Fertilize with half strength houseplant fertilizer every other watering.
  • Take cuttings of plants you want to overwinter inside and place in water.violet-web
  • Check houseplants, and any plants you brought indoors for the winter, for insects.
  • Dust your house plants with a slightly damp cloth.
  • Force spring bulbs for indoor blooms this February by potting them up, watering thoroughly, and placing them in your vegetable crisper for about 10 weeks.
  • Remove old leaves and damaged stems.
  • Mist indoor plants and set up a humidifier or at least place them in pebble trays.
  • Continue to rotate houseplants to promote even growth.
  • Pests to watch for: Spidermites, mealybug, scale.
  • See HGIC’s February Houseplants Tips for more tips.

Indoor/Outdoor Insect and Wildlife Tips:

  • Put suet out for birds.bluebird
  • Keep bird feeders clean and filled and provide a source of water.
  • Check indoors for termites and winter ants.
  • Destroy brown marmorated stink bugs in a jar of soapy water.
  • See HGIC’s February Insect Tips for more details.
  • Watch for: rabbits, raccoons, groundhogs, deer, moles, snakes, squirrels, and voles, flies.
  • For more information on wildlife management and attracting wildlife see HGIC’s February Wildlife tips.

Source: University of Maryland’s Home and Garden Information Center (HGIC) and the Washington Gardener.

Please Support the Mill Creek Towne Garden Club

Hello Friends, Neighbors,

Please support the Mill Creek Towne Garden Club! Your donations will help us continue to provide garden-related programs to the community and pay for maintaining and landscaping the Mill Creek Towne main entrances. donate-today-button

We accept donations throughout the year. Thanks to all of you that have recently donated as well as those of you who have supported us in the past years! Thanks for your continued support of the Mill Creek Towne Garden Club and our community programs!

Mill Creek Towne Garden Club – Derwood, Maryland | | Like us on Facebook


See below for upcoming local events in January.

Montgomery Parks Special Events & Festivals

More events are being added regularly. Please check back often!

Save the dates for these upcoming Winter events!   Events include Maple Sugaring Days, Dealing with Deer and Other Mammals and Pests in Your Garden, Go Green CSA Talk at the Kentlands , a Plant Clinic at Brookside Gardens, Green Matters Symposium, Montgomery County Master Gardener Spring Gardening Conference in Derwood MD, an Art Night program on Tuesday, February 28th at our Mill Creek Towne Garden Club’s meeting, and more!

Kathy Jentz, Editor/Publisher, Washington Gardener Magazine Bambi may be cute, but he and the rest of the herd are very hungry and would love to make a feast of your garden. Learn some proven and humane tactics to keep your edible and ornamental gardens safe from deer, rabbits, rats, groundhogs, and other warm-blooded creatures. FOBG $20

Intended for ages 18 and up

Go Green CSA Talk at the Kentlands

Thursday, February 16, 2017CSA photo
7:00 pm

Kentlands Clubhouse
485 Tschiffely Square Road
Gaithersburg, MD, 20878

Learn about Community Supported Agriculture (CSA’s) in Montgomery County and how to sign up for fresh produce that is delivered to set dropoff points from local farms

What are CSA’s? What are the benefits to using a CSA? How do you find one? How does it work? Come to a talk given by Caroline Taylor, Executive Director of Montgomery County Alliance about CSA’s in Montgomery County.

Look forward to seeing you!

Questions? Email or

Kentlands Foundation GO GREEN Co-chairs

Montgomery County Master Gardeners Plant Clinics at Brookside Gardens

Saturday, February 18, 2017, 10:00 am to 1:00pmbrookside_plant_clinics
Sunday, February 19, 2017, 1:00pm to 4:00pm

Brookside Gardens
Visitors Center
1800 Glenallan Ave.
Wheaton, MD 20902

Got gardening questions? The Saturday and Sunday plant clinics at Brookside Gardens Visitors’ Center will open on the weekend of February 18th and 19th. The Saturday clinic will be open from 10:00 – 1:00 and the Sunday clinic will be open from 1:00 – 4:00.

Mill Creek Towne Garden Club Meeting Topic: Art Night

Tuesday, February 28, 2017art_night
7:30 p.m.

Mill Creek Towne Elementary School
Art Room
17700 Park Mill Drive
Derwood, MD 20855

Speaker: Claire Peterson
Topic:  Art Night
Hostesses: Betty Laffan and Sue Kay
Join us for a special art night as Claire Peterson shows us how to make your own creation to give as a gift or keep as your own keepsake!  Please note that we will be meeting in the Art room this month so we won’t have to worry about any spills.
Please RSVP so we can let you know what supplies are needed for this event.


Philadelphia Flower Show

Tuesday, March 14 / 8:00am – 8:00pm ORholland_philadelphia_flower_show
Thursday, March 16 / 10:00am – 10:00pm

Cost: $90, FOBG: $90

A perennial favorite, the Philadelphia International Flower Show is always a crowd-pleaser. Join us for HOLLAND: Flowering the World – From towering windmills, wooden shoes and delectable cheeses, to the whimsical bicycles, canals and vibrant tulip fields of the iconic Dutch landscape, the 2017 Flower Show will share the diverse stories of horticulture, innovative eco-design, and modern urban greening and sustainability efforts of the Netherlands. Fee includes coach transportation and entrance fee. Your lunch/dinner may be purchased at the show or the nearby Reading Terminal Market.

Brookside Gardens Orchid Show and Sale

Saturday, March 18th and Sunday, March 19th

Brookside Gardens Visitors Center
1800 Glenallan Avenue
Wheaton, MD, US 20902

The annual weekend-long Friends of Brookside Gardens Orchid Show and Sale will be held at the Visitors CenterBrookside Gardens, Wheaton, MD on Saturday, March 18 from 10 AM to 4 PM and Sunday, March 19, from 10 AM to 3 PM.