Winter and Warm Weather

Leatherleaf Mahonia flower cluster opening

Emerging leaves of florist hydrangea

Spent dianthus bloom cluster that needs pinching out

Deciduous fern frond emerging in a protected location

Warm days and cool nights that we are having now are tough on plants. Our winter flowering plants are showing off, while many of our deciduous plants have buds swelling. And the weather next week is predicted to be mild and rainy. So, what can we do? Actually nothing for the early emerging plants. As for the winter flowering plants, enjoy them, as this going to be a great season. This past week I planted my tulip bulbs and other gardening chores continue like winter pruning of deciduous plants that need shaping or cutting back; refreshing mulch; removing spent blossom on fall planted annuals like violas, pansies, and dianthus, as the warmer weather has encouraged additional flowering. Also, don’t forget that early spring stems that are showing color like quince and forsythia can be cut in bud and forced into bloom. Let’s hope that when freezing weather returns, and it will, that there will not be too much damage to our emerging plants and bulbs. But as for now, all we can do is enjoy the mild weather.

John Floyd

John Floyd has been gardening--and learning about Birmingham area gardening--for more than 30 years. In addition to his day-to-day experience, John has degrees in horticulture from Auburn and Clemson Universities and was Editor-in-Chief of Southern Living.

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