2019-02-06 / Editorials

In for a long winter?

All That’s Fit to Print
Brenda Wall

Phil, the groundhog, did not see his shadow so the keepers of the northern forecaster say we are in for an early spring.

Don’t get out the gardening gear just yet. In Georgia, we have our own groundhog, General Lee. He saw his shadow. That means we are in for a long winter. Hmm.

Either way, the first day of spring is March 20 and that is about seven weeks away. And look to the real forecaster of spring — pecan trees. That’s what Granddaddy said and he was never wrong.

Even if spring has not sprung, put your potatoes in the ground on Valentine’s Day. If the weather cooperate you might a mess by mid April.

It is also time to prune crepe myrtles. Advice from the Virginia Extension Service includes “Flowers are produced on new growth. On smaller plants, a second bloom can be encouraged by pruning flowers immediately after they fade. Severe pruning of crape myrtles has become a common practice to maintain shrub size. Chopping off the tops of crape myrtles, known as “topping” or “Crape Murder” ruins the natural, graceful effect of the plant. Many dwarf and semi-dwarf cultivars are now available, making it possible for the homeowner to have the desired plant size while maintaining the natural branching effect. The best way to maintain a crape myrtle is to plant an appropriate cultivar that will grow to the height and spread desired at maturity.

Corrective pruning should be done to remove damaged or dead branches when a problem is detected. Otherwise, prune while the plant is dormant (winter or early spring) to remove lateral branches, small twigs, or branches in the center of the plant to open more space for sun and air movement.”

Plant dill in your garden or in a big pot. Plant lots and lots. The Eastern Black Swallowtail butterflies lay eggs on the dill. The eggs hatch and the caterpillars eat the leaf fronds and stems and they are fueled up enough to spin a cocoon, and, well, they stop and do it.

The cocoons are dark if on dark branch and green if on a plant stem. They sometimes hatch in about 10 days.

Really, I don’t know Diddley about gardening. People talk. I listen. People write. I read. It pays off.

The snakes are waking up soon, so it is time for a snake story. A man was hunting his horse who had gone missing for several days. He noticed a big black snake, which crawled toward a cave. An overhanging ledge of rocks in one of high pasture field. His horse was found lying in this cave, covered with snakes. The man went to the house and got a shotgun and when all his shells were gone, he had 413 snakes were dead and many escaped.The man his horse, had been charmed by the snakes and was powerless to escape.

And I am powerless to escape good snake stories.

Have a good week.

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