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Freeze warning and River Valley Lawn and Garden Show

March 19, 2016
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Just when we thought we were safe, winter is rearing its ugly head. Here in Little Rock we have a forecast of 35 for a low tonight and 33 for tomorrow. I just looked at the forecast and what worries me most is not just the temperature but that we have a clear, still night predicted for both nights. I wish it were overcast and windy, which would help our plants more. If you have tender plants already planted, consider covering. The best way to cover is with an inverted pot or cardboard box or floating row cover that you can elevate over the beds. veg covering.warren.feb16 (1)

vegetable protection.jan10.161

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Be creative!
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Today during my talk in Ft. Smith at the River Valley Lawn and Garden Show someone asked me how to protect their fruit trees, and I told them to pray! There really is very little you can do to cover larger shrubs or trees, but low growing plants have a chance if you can cover them. Leaving a bit of an air pocket will help. If we are getting as low as 33, it will get lower than that in the northern tier and in outlying areas, so take precautions.

I hope you haven’t planted summer annuals like impatiens or summer vegetables like tomatoes yet–those should not go out in any year until mid April. Warm winters often have people jumping the gun and planting too early, and late frosts are always a possibility.

Today was a beautiful day in Ft. Smith with bright, sunny skies but cool temperatures.river valley lawn and garden show (10)

river valley lawn and garden show (16) They had a great crowd in the convention center in Ft. Smith with pretty gardens river valley lawn and garden show (17)and lots to buy.river valley lawn and garden show (12)

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river valley lawn and garden show (28) Of course, I bought some plants–I have some new thyme and a new herb for me–Vietnamese coriander.coriander vietnamese.mar16
River Valley Master Gardeners were out in force manning all the stations and showcasing their programs. river valley lawn and garden show (3)

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Not only do they have numerous booths, plus sell tickets, help with set up and take down, run the seminars and more, they also feed all the vendors and volunteers throughout the show with homemade food each day–a daunting task.river valley lawn and garden show (35)

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Just like in Little Rock, there are so many old friends you run into. It was great seeing Karen and her husband. She has moved from the area, but this MG was instrumental in starting the River Valley Lawn and Garden Show. river valley lawn and garden show (32)
It was a pretty drive home with the redbuds really showing off all along the highwaysredbud roadsides.mar16.4–in my opinion so much nicer than all those seedling pears.
I have walked the garden, but now I think I need to go cover a few new perennials that I saw popping up today. I also saw the first clematis bloom, but I won’t cover it. clematis.purple.mar19.161 Most of my winter vegetables are well-established and should be ok, but I sure hope the hydrangeas that are fully leafing out and the figs make it undamaged. Keep your fingers crossed!

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