In January, come what may in weather, the "kiss at the gate" (Lonicera fragrantissima) blooms its perfumed small cream flowers that lure the bees from the Hives. A few warm days and the sweet olive bursts into many bunches of tiny, white, sweet blooms. A small spray of either will perfume a room.
It is a good time to move dormant plants. If care is used almost anything may be moved. Many flowering trees, if planted now, will bloom this spring. Crabapples fit into almost any garden. 'Bechtel's Double' makes a small round tree with two-inch double pink blooms. 'Flopa' makes a larger tree with pink clouds of single blooms. `Florence' has large white blooms and bears small apples which may be spice pickled. 'Almey' has red foliage and deep pink blooms. By planting several varieties the bloom season can be stretched.
It's time to fertilize trees. Use a crowbar to make deep holes under the tips of the branches. Use a balanced fertilizer. Fertilizer placed under the tips of the branches makes the roots come out and go wider and deeper.
Camellias will be lighting up the landscape this month.
Gladiolus corms may be planted this month. As protection against thrips and bulb rot soak them for three or four hours just before planting in a solution of one teaspoon of Lysol to a quart of water. Glads should not be planted in the same location every year. Try planting them in clumps of five or seven in front of the shrubbery border.
Now is the time to take fig cuttings. Plant eight-inch fig cuttings six inches deep, just the terminal bud above ground, about a foot apart so that they can remain for a year. Trim all dead wood from fig trees and scatter lime over the ground under the spread of the tree.
In late January many low limbs on favorite shrubs and old roses may be layered. Scrape the bark on the under side, put, the branch on the ground, hill over with sandy soil and put a brick or rock on top. After the new plants are growing and well rooted, cut from the parent and place where wanted.
Zephyranthes or zephyr lilies are small charmers. It is time to plant them now. A clump of these surrounded by Johnny-jump-ups under a crabapple tree will be an exciting combination. They grow well in any good garden soil. They make nice plants in the border or in clumps in out of the way places.
Plan to use more vines. Mexican potato vine (Solarium Seaforthianum) grows easily from seed to 15 feet high, bearing large clusters of star-shaped blue flowers which turn into red berries. Black-eyed Susan vine (Thunbergia alata) not only makes a dense vine on supports, but is a good ground cover on banks or terraces. It blooms most of the season and usually reseeds itself.
Plant roses before February 15. The old hybrid tea 'Etoile de Hollande' is still a great favorite. For pastel colors and monthly bloom plant the old teas, like 'Marie van Houtte,"Catherine Mermet,"Duchesse de Brabant' and `Rosette Delizy.'
February is fertilizer month down South. It's best to lay in a supply of your favorite along with super phosphate, and be ready about mid-February to feed everything.