GROOMS GARDENING: Enjoy the break from winter gardening

Susan Grooms | Submitted Photo Camellias are the only plant flowering now in the garden.

We are in mid January and the weather has been feeling wintry. No hard freezes, just cold.

We can still see a few colorful leaves lingering on trees around town. 

Nandina, a.k.a. Heavenly bamboo, has turned dark burgundy. The dwarf nandinas that are very common in commercial landscaping, are balls of dark foliage against the mulch. The more common tall Nandina has also turned dark red or burgundy. Many of the tall ones have red berries on them, if the birds haven't gotten them yet.

Although it is cold, Narcissus are blooming right through January. Their little clusters of white flowers are pretty when seen from a distance. They stand out against the dark leaves of mulch and bare branches of deciduous shrubs.

Camellias are the only other flowers blooming now. Everything else is pretty sad looking from the freeze. I have seen plants in town still alive and colorful but the ones out in the country were killed. Even the roses have been stilled by the cold, no buds are forming. Roses should be pruned next month, by Valentine's Day.

Waiting another month to prune your roses will keep them from putting out fresh growth due to the stimulating effect of pruning. By waiting, you are trying to keep fresh tender foliage from being bitten back by cold. Usually, after Feb. 15, we do not have any killing freezes.

This is the short time each year when above-ground growth of most plants has ceased. The time of quiet, the time of stillness and silence when all Flora takes a short break, before the mad rush of growth that warming soil will bring.

This is the time to rest, dream about the garden you want in spring, find time for the chores that have been put off and time for a weary gardener to become invigorated as they dream over the new seed and plant catalogs. 

See you next week.

Susan Grooms lives and gardens in Lowndes County.

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