March 2007 - Column:

Frigid February


With Cynthia Hendry

The approach to an early spring came to a screeching halt in late January.  February presented the longest stretch of frozen ground that I can recall.  Minimal rain plus this long period of low temperatures stressed plants and caused some damage.


Unless your damaged plants need pruning for other reasons (size or shape), I would wait until they break bud on damaged parts before pruning.   Noted damaged species are Agarista poplifolia, (formerly Leucothoe), Osmanthus fragrans (Sweet Olive), Ilex species (Holly) and some Illicium (Anice).


Smart shoppers at the recent Ace Hardware 20% off sale were loading up on deer protection products.   February and March are the most vulnerable months for evergreen browsing.   Favorites are Rhododendron and evergreen and native Azalea.  This year Nellie R. Stevens Hollies seem to be favorites as well.  They consumed the new planting on the roadside in Waterford.

 The Wildcat neighborhood is now more vulnerable.  Sue Gagliardi and I were surveying her garden and noted browsing on the evergreen Azalea near her front steps.  The honeymoon is over.   The Wildcat Neighborhood deer herd has grown.   Welcome to Big Canoe gardening!  Sue thought her troubles were over when she moved from Sanderlin Mountain to Wildcat.   They will be on Sue’s driveway munching that lovely Clematis Armani Vine soon.  Frank will sell the house.

Plant Sale

The Wildflower Bunch Garden Club’s plant sale will be at the Wildcat Recreation Center on April 13 and 14 this year.  Plants and garden arrangements featuring deer resistant plants will be presented.  Containers and container gardening programs will demonstrate the use of color and texture.  I’ll present a program on Gardening with Deer.

The plant sale is one of the club’s major fund raising programs.  The club utilizes these funds to sponsor educational and conservation efforts, the Big Canoe Garden Trail, as well as many preservation and research projects.   Buy your plants at their event.

In Conclusion

Gardening at Big Canoe presents new challenges for each of us.   This winter has been an example.  Amazed at my own optimism each spring, I hit the highways looking for plants that will solve our problems and enhance the beauty of this spectacular place we call Big Canoe.  See you at the garden club’s plant sale!

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