The Green Thumb Garden Club will look ahead to the red blooms of spring at its Feb. 14 meeting at Collegedale City Hall.
Certified arborist Jon Nessle, an East Brainerd resident and owner of Ornamentor landscaping and tree service, will give a presentation titled Nature's Sculptures - Pruning Ornamental Woody Plants.
"Pruning and caring for your shrubs in the wintertime makes them better bloomers in the summertime," said club president Donna Shelman, who lives in Apison.
But there are always exceptions, she said. Though many gardeners deadhead their coneflowers, mums or daisies in the fall, Shelman leaves hers seedy until February.
"I'm a birder so I leave them up until now," she said.
Forsythia and magnolia, she said, should be pruned right after they bloom in spring and summer, and roses should be pruned in late fall or winter after the first heavy frost.
Shelman, a charter member of Green Thumb, now in its fourth year, joined to learn more about Southern soil.
"I came from the Northwest and planting in the South is very different," she said, citing the Pacific rhododendrons that grow to tower over homes.
Club vice president Cherry King, who moved to Ooltewah from England, also wanted to learn about local soil to keep her hobby alive, though she may not attain England's 12-foot delphiniums and 30-foot rambling roses.
"Gardens are in my upbringing," she said. "I like to be around other people that have the same interests as I have."
King keeps a greenhouse where she grows grapefruit from seed and lemons and oranges. She said growing geraniums from cuttings means she hasn't bought a new plant in five years.
"The secret to a green thumb is brown knees," she said. "May not be good for the fingernails but it's good for the soul."
The 20-member club is focusing on growing its membership to attract regional experts for occasional programs.
"We could get someone from Knoxville to come if he knew his expenses would be covered," King said.
March and April presentations will touch on water conservation with a rain barrel workshop and other programs about planning for summer. A multi-home spring garden tour is in the works and club members are digging in with Collegedale officials to arrange club beautification plans for the Greenway.