What's Blooming in my Georgia Garden in February: Part 2

Well, it's still February, and now there are even more flowers in our Georgia garden. From my point of view, our weather has been horrible. A few beautiful sunny days warm enough to work outdoors have been sandwiched between lots of rainy cold days amidst dark and dreary cloudy days when the dampness just goes to my bones.

Fragrant Winter Daphne from Shady Gardens Nursery
Daphne odora, Fragrant Winter Blooms



If I were a shrub, I would not bloom, and if I were a flower, I would not open. Yet camellias and Daphne shrubs continue to bloom despite all this yucky weather.



Lonicera fragrantissima




And when I walked outside yesterday afternoon, I found Lonicera fragrantissima in full bloom. This variety of Lonicera is known as Winter Honeysuckle since it blooms reliably every Winter. This old-fashioned shrub is also known as Kiss Me at the Gate.
Spirea Fujino Pink

Then I remembered that Fujino Pink Spirea had bloomed earlier this month, and I forgot to mention that in my previous post.

 "Are they still blooming?" I wondered. Yes, yes, they are! 

Now I know what I must do. Since our winter weather can sometimes be too cold and wet for me to venture outdoors, I must plant some of these winter bloomers near a window, to be enjoyed from inside where it is warm!

What's Blooming in my Georgia Garden in February?

Since winters are often very mild here in Georgia and Alabama, it's long been a goal of mine to have something blooming in the garden every month of the year. Winter months are the hardest. Summer provides unlimited options, but the coldest months of winter--January and February--pose the biggest challenge.

Everyone knows about Camellias, and every Fall I look for varieties I don't already have. There's a camellia for every month from September all the way into April. Lady Vansittart is blooming here now in February.
Daphne odora is a plant that really provides year round interest. We grow aureomarginata, which has evergreen leaves with a yellow margin. This variegation makes the shrub attractive even when not in bloom. Every year without fail, the lovely bloom clusters in either pink or white open and surround the garden in fragrance. The flowers smell to me like fresh cut lemons, but others say they remind them of Fruit Loops cereal. Either way, the fragrance is delicious and can be enjoyed right in the middle of winter. Daphne odora is often referred to as Winter Daphne or February Daphne, because that's when it usually blooms.

Edgeworthia chrysantha is a deciduous shrub with fragrant spherical bloom clusters in late winter and very early spring. Chinese Paper Bush is also known as Rice Paper Plant, because the bark is used to make rice paper. That's funny--I always thought rice paper was made from rice. Edgeworthia likes growing in rich, well-drained soil with evenly moist soil in a shady spot.



Leatherleaf Mahonia is an evergreen holly-like shrub with prickly leaves and vivid yellow bloom spikes in the middle of winter. Our plants even have a little variegation, which makes it interesting year round. Pollinators love this plant on warm sunny days in January and February, since winter flowers are hard to come by. And in late Spring, dark purple drupes develop and are food for wildlife when other berries are not yet ripe. Gardeners either love this plant or hate it. I like it. 

Today is Arbor Day in Georgia

National Arbor Day is April 24, but Georgia's Arbor Day is the 3rd Friday in February each year, and that is TODAY!

February is a much better time to plant trees here in Georgia and Alabama. Trees planted here in April have trouble transitioning, and often even die, because it gets so hot right afterward. Trees and shrubs planted in winter get a chance to dig their roots in before being forced to suffer Georgia heat and drought. However, I would suggest Arbor Day be moved for us to sometime in the Fall. I like November better for planting shrubs and trees. When planted in November, they have even more time to grow deeper roots. 

Honestly though, it is just too cold out there for me today. Instead, I'll be celebrating Arbor Day tomorrow, February 21, along with the city of Auburn, Alabama. Our forecast for tomorrow is perfect for tree planting--around 60 degrees with some chances of evening rain! And being the "plant collector" (a.k.a. hoarder) that I am, I have a bunch of trees and shrubs set aside already, just waiting on that perfect tree-planting weather.

Tomorrow I'll be planting:
  • Redbud, because I can always use another Redbud.
  • Laceleaf Japanese Maple, because I've wanted one for years!
  • Witch Hazel, because the one I planted in the summer a few years ago died.
  • Camellias, because I can't ever get enough camellias.
  • Edgeworthia, because I've sold it for years and never got around to planting one for myself.
  • Daphne odora with white blooms, because it smells like fresh lemons, and I don't have a white one.
  • Sourwood, for my honeybees. Maybe I'll get some Sourwood Honey!
  • Althea, because I must have every color I can get of this summer-blooming beauty!
  • Chinese Snowball Bush, because the one I planted last Spring did not make it.
  • I actually could go on and on, because I have several more trees and shrubs out there that need to be planted. Many because they've lost their labels, and I can't sell a plant if I don't know what it is!

Think I can get all that done in just one day?