Sponsored by Thomasville Garden Club Inc.
February is here and although this month is still part of the depth of winter in Thomasville, many of us hope that the extremely cold weather we experienced last month has come to an end. Ever the optimist, I expect the cold temperatures to have killed off the hoards of mosquitoes and other bothersome insects that have plagued us for the past several summers. Time will tell.
Typically, February’s temperatures range from lows in the 30s or 40s to highs in the 50s or 60s. Nevertheless, we can still have hard freezes at one extreme and highs in the 80s at the other. It is amusing how we go on and on about the weather, knowing full well that all we can do is cope with whatever we get.
On Saturday, Thomasville Garden Club, Inc. will hold its annual Camellia Show at the Garden Center, 1102 S. Broad St., from 1:30 p.m.-5 p.m. Anyone may enter camellias. Just come to the Garden Center between 7:30 a.m. -10:30 a.m. with your blooms on the day of the show, but please do not wait until the last minute. It takes more time than you realize to enter your blossoms. The good thing is that a number of people who are knowledgeable about camellias will be on hand to assist you.
Even if you do not intend to enter the competition, you really should attend the show. Camellias are magnificent flowers and there are literally hundreds of varieties, each amazingly beautiful. You cannot fail to be impressed. Did you know that more than 70 varieties of camellias were developed right here in Thomasville? Records show that the oldest locally registered camellia is the Mrs. F. L. Gibson in 1935. Many private yardens still have some old, original Thomasville camellias growing in them.
Attending the show also offers an opportunity to learn which camellias you might want to plant in your own yarden. It is excellent timing because new camellias can be planted now. This month, while they are in flower, is the perfect time to select your plants. After seeing the fabulous blooms at the Camellia Show, as well as driving around and seeing camellias growing in so many yardens, you will surely find some camellias that are irresistible.
By the way, the Camellia Show lasts only one day. Do not miss it, thinking that you have another day or two! Admission to the show is free, but donations are greatly appreciated.
Friday, Feb. 21, is Arbor Day throughout Georgia. Each year, Thomasville Garden Club Inc. recognizes Arbor Day by choosing a location for a meaningful program and tree-planting ceremony. Plans are in progress for this year’s celebration. Please be on the lookout for final details a little later in an announcement in this newspaper.
Thomasville Garden Club Inc. encourages you to celebrate Arbor Day, too, not only by attending our program, but by starting an annual family tradition to plant a tree or shrub in recognition of this holiday. You will be beautifying your own yarden as well as improving the air quality around your home and the environment in general.
Another noteworthy February event is the blooming of the remarkable trout lilies in Grady County. The 140-acre Wolf Creek Trout Lily Preserve is located off U.S. 84, approximately five miles west of Cairo and two miles east of Whigham, bordering the Florida state line. An estimated 30-50 million dimpled trout lilies can be found at the preserve, forming a solid 15-acre carpet. This is a very large, densely populated tract of trout lilies and many experts think that it is the largest known concentration of trout lilies in the world. I had the thrill of seeing this spectacular sight a couple of years ago and I encourage everyone to arrange to visit the preserve by contacting Birdsong Nature Center by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or investigating its website, www.birdsongnaturecenter.org or by emailing Beth Grant at email@example.com.
To do in February
First of all, I wholeheartedly recommend the Camellia Show, Arbor Day and trout lilies this month.
February is also the time to plant rapid-maturing cool season vegetables and perennial herbs and to divide perennials, ferns and ground covers. You can plant flowering annuals and perennials as they become available at nurseries and the danger of frost has passed. Trees, shrubs and roses can also be planted this month.
February is when we tend to prune shrubs and trees that bloom in the summer. However, they may have experienced winter damage. Therefore, it might be wise to delay pruning until new growth begins to show, in order to tell where to cut. Prune back to about one inch below any damage. Remember that spring bloomers produced their buds last fall, so pruning them now is not a good idea. Loss of flowers will be the result.
For the birds
Have you seen robins? They are here. I started seeing them last month.
If you have bluebird nesting boxes, start looking for bluebirds to begin investigating them in preparation for their new homes. Claudia Mason tells me that between February and mid-March, they usually “start getting serious about finding a home.”
I just read that purple martins, the largest members of the swallow family in North America, arrive in south Georgia in mid-to-late January and early February. Be on the look-out for them, too. East of the Rockies, purple martins are heavily dependent upon man-made housing, so look for their houses or “apartments” built on poles about 15 to 30 feet tall.
Because it has been so cold, please consider providing food such as seeds, suet, scraps and other items high in fat and calories to give birds plenty of energy to generate sufficient body heat and make sure the water in your birdbath is liquid, not frozen.
Throughout February, take pleasure in our marvelous camellias, lovely trees, unique trout lilies and other winter flowers as well as our feathered friends. And, we hope to see you at Thomasville Garden Club’s Camellia Show on Saturday and Arbor Day celebration on Feb. 21.
Thomasville Garden Club Inc., welcomes new members. If you are interested, please contact Membership Chair Helen Huddleston at 227-9896 or any current member. The Garden Center has a library of books about gardening, which are available not only to garden club members but to the general public. To access the library or to visit the Garden Center, please contact Ann McKinnon at 226-5291 (the Garden Center telephone number) or any current member. The Garden Center is open on the Wednesday before the first Friday of every month, September through May.
Sponsored by Thomasville Garden Club Inc.
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