Another Valentine’s Day has come and gone, and I hope your fresh flowers are still looking fresh.  Remember to change to water and re-cut the stems to prolong their freshness.  The restaurant dinner and the chocolates were tasty, but they were gone by February 15 weren’t they?
You might be interested to know that about 700,000 roses were shipped through the United Flower Growers auction in Burnaby last week as florists around the province prepared for Valentine’s Day.  That works out to over 58,000 dozen!
While there are several wholesale rose growers in British Columbia they are not able to keep up with the demand for roses on the 14th, so extra numbers are imported, mostly from Ecuador, where tens of millions of roses are produced annually.

Are we looking at another dry summer in the Okanagan?  That would seem to be the case if you read or heard the reports last week regarding the snowpack levels in some areas of the Interior, including our Okanagan Valley.
I’ll be the first to promote using our water resources wisely, not just in our gardens but in all areas of our lives and I’ve done so in many columns in the past.  But, it’s a bit early to sound the alarm bells.  We still have another five weeks of “winter” on the calendar, and I do remember another story about two weeks ago, right around Groundhog Day, in which Environment Canada told us that southern British Columbia could anticipate a cooler and wetter than normal spring. Things will work out, they always do.

I received an interesting e-mail and a couple of photographs before Christmas from a Turf’s Up reader in Penticton regarding xeriscaping and lawns.  This reader has converted his lawn to plants such as thyme, Snow-in-summer (Cerastium), low-growing sedums and aubretia.  The dense growth of the plants has shaded the soil, cut down on moisture loss and provided a cover for deeper rooted plants to establish successfully.scottaustinfrontlawn

He was writing in response to my column where I noted that fall gardens can lack colour if they’re not planned properly.  As this photograph shows, a bit of thought goes a long way towards ensuring that you’ll enjoy your garden year-round and use less water while doing so.  Well done!

There is no snow on my lawn and garden right now, and I’m getting those familiar urges to start digging.  I know that many of you still can’t see much, if any, of your landscape under the white blanket.  If you’re starved for some spring colour visit your local garden centre this weekend.
You’ll find the vibrant colours and sweet fragrance of the primroses, always a late winter favourite.  I have always enjoyed a pot or two of the minature ‘Tete a Tete’ daffodils on a kitchen windowsill, but you can also find tulips, iris, crocus and hyacinth just popping into bloom in containers.  After they’ve finished flowering plant them out in the garden and enjoy them out there next spring.  The official start of spring may be five weeks away, but spring in our minds is much closer.

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