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Now and later Part 1

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Seed heads and spring vegetables

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By Lydia Holley
Special to The Monitor

HENDERSON COUNTY–In this series, we will look at a winter garden’s current joys and those coming to fruition later.

Due to the mild temperatures we experienced this winter, coneflowers continued to bloom longer than usual. But seed heads formed when it finally got cold. Their seed heads are not as bright as their bloom, but just as lovely. Other seed heads to enjoy are from yarrow, clematis, liatris, verbena on a stick, society garlic, black-eyed-Susans, sedums and pincushion flowers. Besides lending a sculptural quality to the garden, many of these will feed the birds when food is scarce.  In addition to seed heads, ornamental grasses fill the winter garden with interesting forms. They sway in the slightest breeze, hold on to glistening ice, and shimmer in the morning dew. Many have miniature fluffy seeds along the tops of their plumes. Sea oats have large seeds which dangle from curved stems.
 Enjoy your garden’s sepia tones while they last. The calendar may say we are in winter but the days are getting longer. Dormant grasses should be cut back soon so emerging new growth will not be sheared. 
 The spring vegetable garden can be started now. Seeds for herbs, peppers, and tomatoes can be started indoors to be planted outside after the threat of frost has passed. If you prefer to plant seeds directly in the ground, plant green peas (aka English peas) anytime between Jan. 15 and Feb. 15. 
 Later, when hot, tasty green peas are put on your plate for eating, think back upon the winter day you started them. Plant that day’s memory in your mind by taking in the beauty of the winter landscape.
 Trees add interest in every season. During last Saturday’s Free Tree Giveaway, sponsored by the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Office, the Texas A&M Forest Service and the Henderson County Master Gardener Association, over 1,100 trees were given away.
 For more information, call (903) 675-6130, email or visit