By Denise Metzger, Garden Services Manager
Lambert Landscape Company
In The Little Prince, Antoine de Saint Exupery’s beloved poetic tale, the hero astronaut from Asteroid B-612 finds love and meaning in caring for his earthly rose. The entire quote — “It is the time you spend on your rose that makes the rose important” — can be applied to the investment we make when we love and care for all the plants and wildlife in our garden.
With February bringing us Valentine’s Day and National Heart Month, the sentimental narrative of the children’s classic inspires us to reflect on the importance of our gardens and the attention required of roses, in particular, and trees and shrubs, in general.
Our recommended tasks for the February garden:
Feeding and nourishing of all annual color and blooming plants
Trimming back frost-damaged plant material
Cutting back woody shrubs
Pruning shrub and climbing roses to maintain the attractive shape and encourage good flowering
Proactively pruning all oaks
Pruning shade trees
Applying dormant oil to plants to kill over-wintering insects
Mulching with rich layers of nourishing organic compost
Fertilizing cool season flowers such as pansies
Protecting tender plants from potential freeze with cozy winter blankets
Covering up for cold to ensure soil health
Removing all debris and litter where insects may nest
Making plans for your spring and summer garden
The more care you give your roses and plants throughout the winter the better chance they have to get through cold snaps unscathed and come back strong in the spring.
?Immersing yourself in garden tasks can be a peaceful escape from urban noise. Seeking the healing of nature in your garden, scientists tell us, is a proven antidote to stress. The American Society of Landscape Architects reports that quiet time in gardens has long- and short-term benefits for mental and physical health and improved creativity, and generates an overall sense of well-being.
Perhaps the Little Prince was on to something. Loving the rose as he did was surely the first step in a contemplative odyssey of discovery that we all know is also the journey of every gardener on the cusp of every new spring.
About the author: Denise Metzger is a horticulturist and Garden Services Manager at Lambert Landscape Company and serves homeowners in Fort Worth. firstname.lastname@example.org