‘Groundwork’ for Sunday, Feb. 24, 2013.

Photo provided by Bob Souvestre -- Wave petunias grow large with a single plant easily covering 2 square feet. Three plants, Wave Purple, front; Surprise Cream, left; and Tidal Wave Silver, right, are overgrowing this 4-foot wide bed covering it with a solid display of flowers season long.
Photo provided by Bob Souvestre -- Wave petunias grow large with a single plant easily covering 2 square feet. Three plants, Wave Purple, front; Surprise Cream, left; and Tidal Wave Silver, right, are overgrowing this 4-foot wide bed covering it with a solid display of flowers season long.

BY BOB SOUVESTRE

If you think because it’s February there is still a month before you need to ramp up your gardening activities, think again. Here are some gardening tasks to perform in advance of spring.

What a wonderful way to enjoy mosquito-free evenings by grilling salmon or fajita chicken and beef with fresh, homegrown herbs.

You may have to sort through a few unwanted items such as large sticks, but it’s well worth the mulch.

Watch azaleas in February and March for lace bugs. They cause the foliage to have numerous small white spots as they feed underneath lower foliage. Control with horticultural oil sprays, imidacloprid or acephate.

Wave petunias

Are you a Tidal Wave fan? Do you enjoy the latest colors, such as Easy Wave Burgundy Star or Shock Wave Denim? Or do you love a classic, such as Wave Purple?

Did you know this year Wave Purple will celebrate its 18th birthday? How did it all begin? Here are some interesting facts about Wave petunias.

Wave Petunia was bred by a Japanese beer company. Beer and wine companies often employ horticulturists who grow plants for the many flavors and components that go into making their products.

Back in the 1990s, a company was exploring opportunities for wine-grape breeding when it uncovered a vigorous spreading petunia growing wild like a weed.

After many seasons of tackling and taming that plant, the breeder was able to produce a seed-raised spreading petunia – resulting in the first Wave Purple.

The Wave Purple petunia was introduced to American home gardeners when it won an All-America Selections award in 1995.

The rest is history. Soon, more colors were introduced to the Wave petunia series, such as Blue and Misty Lilac.

Then in 2001, Tidal Wave petunia emerged on the scene with award-winning Tidal Wave Silver.

Next was frilly Double Wave petunia in 2002. Basket-friendly Easy Wave petunia was introduced to gardeners in 2003, and further breeding advancements brought Shock Wave petunia to market in 2009.

Don’t help termites

While fall and winter are excellent times for adding hardy trees, shrubs and ground covers to the landscape, these seasons also are times to be cautious about creating problems that could bring termites into your home. LSU AgCenter experts offer these suggestions to reduce the possibility of termite problems:

Promptly remove all scrap wood and wooden debris from the landscape such as felled tree branches and old firewood.

Got a gardening question? Write to Bob Souvestre, horticulturist with the LSU AgCenter, at Burden Center, 4560 Essen Lane, Baton Rouge, LA 70809, or email to bsouvestre@agcenter.lsu.edu, or call Master Gardeners at (225) 763-3990.