It’s ‘dibby dab’ day!

Dibby-dabs. That’s what my sister’s mother-in-law called it when she took the week’s leftovers out of the fridge and served them for dinner. You had a little of this and a little of that.

Today, I’m doing a spin of that idea, with a little of this and a little of that. I’ll start with the gross topic first: dog and cat manure. The recent thaw probably revealed lots of “piles” that have gone unnoticed in the snow and cold. And with the trend toward going “organic,” some people might be tempted to leave them on the lawn or garden bed as fertilizer, or add them to the compost pile.  In a word, DON’T.

Besides the obvious odor issues, pet waste contains high levels of bacteria that can spread illnesses like ringworm and salmonella. If left on the lawn or garden to decompose, these bacteria can be absorbed into the plants as well as the water tables. And your compost pile isn’t going to get hot enough to kill the bacteria. If that isn’t enough to convince you, pet waste contains higher levels of nitrogen than other animal manure, which may not be good for your plants.

Best bet if you want organic fertilizer is to stick with products like Milorganite, fish emulsion, Earthworm Castings, Herbruck (chicken manure) or composted cow manure (all available at Flowerland). A quick note about horse manure: it takes several years for it to compost; fresh manure may add weeds to your lawn or garden as well.

Now on to a more pleasant – and less sticky – topic: color. Maybe you are someone who likes to be on the cutting edge when it comes to home décor. Maybe you consider the outside of your home to be an extension of the inside.  If this is you then you will want to take note. In September, Pantone, the global authority on color and provider of professional color standards for the design industries, put out its list of “hot” colors for Spring 2011. They all have “colorful” names like Coral Rose, Blue Coracao, Peapod, Lavender and Russet. In December, they announced their Color of the Year: Pantone 18-2120 Honeysuckle. It is a “festive reddish pink” (I personally would call it a ‘hot pink’) and Pantone further describes it as “a captivating, stimulating color that gets the adrenaline going…” The trend is to pair complementary colors, meaning colors that are opposite each other on the color wheel, for the biggest impact.

So what does this mean for you and your garden? Demonstrate your heighted sense of style by decorating the outside of your home with pops of color. Annuals give you a variety of non-permanent color options to add around your shrubs, trees and perennials.  Garden centers typically carry petunias, impatiens and more in a variety of colors and hues. Check out http://www.pantone.com/pages/Pantone/Pantone.aspx?pg=20751&ca=4 to see each of the ‘in’ colors then have fun picking out similarly colored annuals. You’ll be the ‘flower-nista’ of the neighborhood.

Think Spring!