While other parts of the country are firmly entrenched in winter, the acacia trees, pansies, camellias, succulents, and other blooming plants are saying, "Spring!" to us. Take note of the plants that look lovely this time of year if your garden needs a January boost.
Think About Deciduous Fruit Trees. You can prune anytime this month, if it's not raining. If you have rain on that Saturday you set aside, consider it an opportunity to inspect and sharpen your pruning tools.
Spraying Savvy. Organic dormant sprays are now widely available, if you choose to treat your trees. Spray after pruning and before your trees bud out. Spray when there is no rain expected to get the maximum benefit.
Save Space for Perennial Veggies. Make way for strawberries, artichoke, asparagus, and horseradish. All of these vegetables will produce year after year with little care and can be an attractive part of the landscape.
Flower Power. Camellias and azaleas look great this time of year and add lots of color to the garden. It is a good time to buy camellias because, unlike most plants, they like to be transplanted when they are in bloom.
Tree Shopping. Now is a good time to shop for deciduous trees. Without their leaves, it is easy to see the structure of the tree; improper pruning when the tree is still in the can at the nursery may be impossible to correct later. Shop at a nursery that has a good selection of the tree you want and talk to the nursery staff about the best structure for that particular tree.
Perennial Pleasures. There are many attractive perennials that can go in the ground now: centaurea ("Dusty Miller"), many species of daisies, digitalis ("foxglove"), penstemon, achillea ("yarrow"), and agapanthus ("lily of the Nile").
What Not to Plant. Right now, avoid tomatoes and other warm season vegetables and warm season grasses, such as bermuda. You should also resist any bulbs that are soft, very light for their size, or already growing.