Hello Friends, Neighbors, Fellow Gardeners,
It’s time to enjoy the winter scenes and get ready for Spring! Here are some garden tips, educational opportunities, and events for February. Events include Black History Month Celebrations, Maple Sugaring Days, Waterfowl Festival, Green Matter Symposium, 2018 Spring Conference, Arbor Day Video Contest, and more! Mark your calendars and save the date for our 50th Anniversary Mill Creek Town Garden Club Celebration on Tuesday, March 20, 2018 @ 7:30pm with special guest speaker Kathy Jentz, who will help us get our gardens ready for Spring!
- Select and order fruit plants
- Decide on new tree/shrub locations.
- If you want a street tree, pick one under 20-30 feet if you have overhead power lines.
- Plan landscape design projects.
- Order/buy those seeds!
- Collect supplies for starting seeds.
- When planning your wildlife-friendly backyard don’t forget to include native trees and shrubs that produce fall and winter persistent fruits.
- Have a question about gardening? Check the University of Maryland Extension’s New Maryland Grows blog for garden tips.
Support our local farmers! Visit a local farmers’ market near you. Download Montgomery County’s Office of Agriculture Farmer’s Market Flyer to find a farmer’s market near you.
Flowers and Groundcovers:
- Hardy spring bulbs begin to emerge (crocus, snowdrops, daffodils, tulips).
- Deadhead pansies.
- Pull out ornamental cabbages and kale.
- Lightly fertilize bulbs when green starts to show.
- Transplant seedlings into individual 3″-4″ pots when crowded.
- Fertilize transplants with 1/2 strength houseplant fertilizer (every 2 weeks).
- Start seeds for Portulaca the second week in February.
- On the fourth week, start seeds for: Ageratum, China Aster, Cleome, Dwarf Marigolds, Salvia, Tall Snapdragons, and Verbana.
- Do not step on frozen soil in flower beds or lawns.
- In the dark of winter you may be wondering about grow lights. Here is a concise guide to grow lights — their types and how they differ from normal room lighting.
- Pests to watch for: voles
- Diseases to watch for: Damping off of seedlings.
- See UMD’s HGIC’s February Flower tips for more details.
Trees and Shrubs:
- Prune damaged branches.
- Spray with dormant oil to decrease pest infestations.
- Begin pruning of flowering shrubs.
- Gently brush snow from evergreen shrubs.
- Remove dead and dying trees.
- Check that newly planted trees, shrubs, and perennials have not been heaved out of the ground due to freezing and thawing cycles.
- If we do get more snow in the DC area, gently dislodge snow from trees and shrubs with a broom to prevent damage to the branches.
- Water slowly and deeply if weather is very dry.
- Prune out Fireblight damage Malus and Pyrus when very cold.
- Water newly planted trees and shrubs weekly or as needed.
- Pests to watch for: Deer, vole, scale.
- Diseases to watch for: Fireblight, Phomospsis and Kabatina of Juniper, Diplodia tip blight of 2 & 3 needled pines.
- See HGIC’s February Trees and Shrubs Tips for more details.
Herbs, Veggies, and Fruit:
- Start pepper seeds indoors
- Sow greens indoors or outdoors in cold frame.
- Start seeds for: cabbage, chives, fennel, sage, thyme, and rosemary.
- Cover garden beds with shredded leaves to minimize soil erosion.
- Insulate outdoor containers by wrapping with bubble wrap or landscape fabric.
- Look for evidence of pest or fungal damage throughout your garden.
- Prune out Fireblight damage on apples and pears when very cold.
- This is a good time to have your vegetable garden and landscape soils tested.
- Watch for insect and disease problems throughout your garden.
- Pests to watch for: asparagus beetle, aphids, cabbage worms, corn earworm, and cutworms
- Diseases to watch for: Fungal, bacterial, viral diseases
- Here are some more fruit and vegetable gardening tips for February from UMD’s HGIC.
- Start lawn seeding.
- Shovel walks and drive before applying ice melt or you will damage your lawn.
- Use de-icer sparingly or a nonchemical substitute such as sand, grit, fireplace ashes, or non-clumping kitty litter.
- Do not step on frozen soil in lawns.
- The annual soil science calendars from the Natural Resources Conservation Service are both educational and beautifully done. The one for 2018 as well as those for previous years are available as free PDFs here: https://www.nrcs.usda.gov/
wps/portal/nrcs/detail/ soils/edu/ ?cid=nrcseprd1250008
- Build a compost bin.
- Have soil tested (every 3 years minimum).
- Get your lawn mower serviced.
- Diseases to watch for: brown patch, and red thread
- Pests to watch for: Grubs
- See HGIC’s February Lawn Tips for more details.
- Buy a few new houseplants.
- Fertilize your winter-blooming houseplants, such as violets.
- Change water in cuttings started last fall and add 2–3 pieces of fish tank charcoal.
- Pinch back leggy plants.
- Maintain moisture in pots wintering indoors, but do not over water!
- Cut off the flower stalk on your amaryllis once flowers fade. Leave foliage to grow.
- Keep all houseplants out of drafts and away from heat vents.
- Clean the leaves of your indoor houseplants to prevent dust and film to build-up.
- Set up a humidifier for indoor plants or at least place them in pebble trays.
- Reduce fertilizing of indoor plants (except cyclamen).
- Rotate houseplants to promote even growth.
- Remove old leaves, damaged stems.
- Fertilize houseplants now that they are actively growing again.
- Repot root-bound houseplants and start fertilizing them.
- Pests to watch for: aphids, spider mites, scale, and whitefly
- See HGIC’s February Houseplants Tips for more tips.
Indoor/Outdoor Insect and Wildlife Tips:
- Clean and refill bird feeders.
- Wash and refill the bird bath or set out a shallow bowl of water in icy weather.
- Vacuum up any ladybugs that come in the house.
- Don’t put your birdbath away. Birds need fresh water for drinking and bathing throughout the fall season. Clean frequently and keep filled with fresh water.
- Check for vole problems and set up traps.
- Switch your deer deterrent spray.
- See HGIC’s February Insect Tips for more details.
- Watch for: carpenter ants, flies, stink bugs, termites, rabbits, raccoons, groundhogs, deer, moles, snakes, squirrels, and voles.
- 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
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.
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!
More events are being added regularly. Please check back often!
Save the dates for these upcoming events! Events include Black History Month Celebrations, Maple Sugaring Days, Waterfowl Festival, Green Matter Symposium, 2018 Spring Conference, Arbor Day Video Contest, and more!
Varied Locations, dates, and times
- Help you select and care for annual and perennial plants, shrubs and trees.
- Determine if you need to test your soil.
- Provide you with information on lawn care.
- Identify weeds, beneficial and noxious insects, and plant diseases and remedies.
- Teach you how to use pesticides, mulch and compost.
- Guide you in pruning trees and shrubs.
- Provide you with options for managing wildlife.
- Provide you with gardening resources.
- Help you submit a plant sample for diagnosis
Plant Clinics are held at several sites in the county on a weekly basis and at special events such as garden festivals and the county fair. Regularly scheduled Plant Clinics are located at public libraries and farmers’ markets throughout the county as well as at the Audubon Naturalist Society in Chevy Chase. There are also clinics three days per week at Brookside Gardens. The busiest season is April through September, but some clinics are open year-round. Bring your plant samples and questions to one of these locations in Montgomery County, MD (see link below to find a location near you):
Black History Month Celebrations
A month full of events at local historic landmarks will highlight the stories, struggles and successes of African Americans on a local, state, national and international level. From free guided tours to documentary screenings happening at Woodlawn Manor Cultural Park and Josiah Henson Park, the events happening throughout February will close out Black History Month.
Silver Spring Civic Building
1 Veterans Place
Silver Spring, MD 20910
Standard Fee: $99 p/person after January 13, 2018
Register at ActiveMONTGOMERY.org (Course #40522) or call 301-962-1451.
*Registration includes light breakfast, coffee/tea, and box lunch
For more information and to register online, please visit here.
2018 Spring Conference
University of Maryland Extension Montgomery County Office
Agricultural History Farm Park
18410 Muncaster Rd,
Derwood, MD 20855
The Montgomery County Master Gardener Spring Gardening Conference is scheduled for February 24, 2018. (Snow date is March 3, 2018). The daylong event offers multiple presentations, morning snacks, a delicious bag lunch, door prizes, networking with other gardeners, answers to your gardening questions, handouts, and reference materials. Participants can attend three of nine concurrent presentations, and a Lunch & Learn session, all taught by Master Gardeners.
To view the 2018 Spring Conference brochure, click here.
To register for the 2018 Spring Conference, please go to the Eventbrite site (link is external).
Montgomery Parks is pleased to invite your 3rd–5th grade students to participate in a video contest for a chance to host an Arbor Day Celebration at your school this April!
In a short video, tell us how “Trees are Superheroes”. Submissions will be posted to the Montgomery Parks’ YouTube Channel and the winning video will be displayed on Montgomery Parks’ social media channels and website. Submissions must be sent by March 30.
The Woods in Your Backyard Online Course
UMD Extension is offering an online non-credit course called The Woods in Your Backyard, March 7 – May 21, 2018. Cost is $85. The course is about creating and maintaining natural areas around your home. The course work is spread out over the entire 10 1/2 week period and comprises orientation + 5 instructional modules with activities, assignments, and course materials. Click below for more details and a link to the course outline.
Mill Creek Towne Garden Club 50th Anniversary Community Event-“Getting Your Garden Ready for Spring”
Save the date, and don’t miss our special 50th Anniversary celebration on Tuesday, March 20th! We will have a special guest speaker, Kathy Jentz, who will present “Getting Your Garden Ready for Spring”. Refreshments and cake will be served. We hope you can join us. Below are the meeting details.
Date: Tuesday, March 20, 2018
Time: 7:30 p.m.
Location: Mill Creek Towne Elementary School All Purpose Room
17700 Park Mill Dr.
Derwood, MD 20855
Speaker: Kathy Jentz
Topic: Getting Your Garden Ready for Spring
Hostess: MCT Garden Club members
Cost: FREE, Donations gratefully appreciated!
NOTE: If Montgomery County Schools are closed due to inclement weather, the Garden Club meeting will be cancelled.
Kathy Jentz is editor and publisher of Washington Gardener Magazine. A life-long gardener, Kathy believes that growing plants should be stress-free and enjoyable. Her philosophy is inspiration over perspiration.
Kathy’s work has been featured in numerous Washington, DC-area publications and she appears on regular gardening guest spots on television and radio programs in Washington, DC.
She is also the Green Media columnist for the Mid-Atlantic Grower newspaper, where she does a great deal of hand-holding and coaxing to get independent garden centers, plant breeders, and other horticultural businesses to join the social media revolution and maximize their online brands.