Ellen has been gardening with and appreciating native plants for eleven years in north metro Atlanta. She is especially fond of native shrubs and trees but is willing to learn to love herbaceous plants as well. Helping others to see the beauty and versatility of Georgia's native plants, whether it be in the wild or in the garden, is both a passion and a compulsion -- just ask her kids! Ellen is an active member of the Georgia Native Plant Society and the Georgia Botanical Society. She uses her personal blog, usinggeorgianativeplants.blogspot.com, to share seasonal ideas and pictures about native plants in her area.

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by Ellen Honeycutt - posted 01/21/13

Blue skies and occasional warm days love to tease Georgia gardeners into thinking that spring is here. It's not here. Plants are still resting in their winter dormancy, gathering nutrients and energy for the big push. We won't have to wait until the third week of March (March 20th is the official first day of spring), but we need to at least get halfway through February.

These blueberry buds might look ready, but they will wait until the time is right; their expansion to flowers is a long process.



Use this time to stroll around the garden and yard to evaluate the health, shape and placement of the plants you have. Take a pad and pencil with you to sketch out ideas or jot down notes:

  • is that plant too close to the foundation?
  • has that one failed to thrive in previous years and perhaps needs to be moved?
  • what needs pruning?
  • how to fill that empty spot?
  • that area over there needs more color ...

Take some colored flags, popsicle sticks or plastic knives and forks to mark areas of interest or where you've decided to do something.

Then take your notes back inside and make two lists: A list of specific chores (plants to move or prune), and a list of plant needs to research (perennials for that wet spot, late summer perennials, tall perennials, blue perennials).

The chores list can be tacked up on the fridge for the warmer days ahead (actually some things could be moved even now).

The research list needs to sit next to your computer or a stack of plant books so that you can spend the long January evenings doing that research.


These days of pre-spring are perfect for planning. Get out there and get started!



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