The birds are waking me up with the sunrise at this time of year. They’re busy nesting & hooking up. The bird bath is occasionally dry now, so it’s good to give it a good cleaning & refill. Even birds need a nice spa treatment when things are hectic, right?
- Keep the lawn mower blades sharpened & the proper bits lubricated as the machine is back in regular use now.
- Give the garden hoses & sprinklers a good once over to be sure they’re in shape for the upcoming dry season.
- Keep those pruners & clippers sharp, too!
- It’s best to clean pruners between bushes. Spray with a 10% bleach + water mixture. This helps to prevent the spread of diseases through the garden.
- Pinch back snapdragon & other summer bloomers to promote bushier plants & more blooms
- Shear back winter heathers after blooms peter out.
- Shear back rosemary.
- Prune conifers when the bright new growth starts to darken to the matching shade of green (as needed to contain size)
- Prune stone fruit trees while blooming (plum, peach, cherry, nectarine…)
- Roses can be pruned when the forsythia is in bloom.
- Prune back ornamental grasses 4-6 inches from the ground & compost clippings.
- Once the Corsican Hellebore is finished blooming the whole stem can be cut to the ground. New stems will bloom next year.
Forsythia & Other flowering shrubs should be pruned right after flowering so they have the full growing season to prepare for next year’s bloom
- start with removing dead, diseased & damaged limbs
- then take out crossing branches, & give the interior of the shrub some breathing space
- take out some old branches to allow for fresh growth
- try not to get too crazy… 1/3 of the living growth is plenty 🙂
- Add compost or sea soil to areas of heavy feeding
- Sprinkle horticultural lime around clematis & scratch it into mulch
- If you’re really wanting a lush lawn, now’s the optimum time to fertilize.
- Fertilize spring bulbs after bloom so that they can soak up as many nutrients & rebuild the bulbs for next year.
note: Let the leaves (solar panels) can soak up as much goodness from the sunshine to help out with the rebuild
- Plant summer flowering bulbs (dahlias, gladioli & lilies), depending on the soil conditions. They don’t like sitting in waterlogged soils.
- Sow sweet peas and hardy annuals such as alyssum & marigolds.
New rhodos, camellias & other spring temptations are in the nurseries. Get newly acquired plants into ground ASAP
- dig the hole just a bit wider & deeper than the pot leaving some loose soil in the bottom
- add bone meal as a root booster & compost as a fertilizer… stir in some water
- gently tap plant out of its container & set in hole so that it matches ground level… fill in hole with mix of compost & original soil … firm in
- water well so air pockets bubble out of any places around the roots
- With the temperature increasing so is growth. Thank goodness for that January mulching! It helps keep moisture in the soil, but also really deters weeds. Wander through the beds digging the occasional perennial weed (dandelion) as well as any snails or slugs as you discover them.
- If the mulching didn’t happen, keep a check on the carpet of young weeds and remove them before they take hold… Pop weed goes to seed quickly, so get rid of it fast!
- Peonies are jumping out of the ground. Before the plants get so big that branches will break during support installation, get those peony rings in place. (I use tomato cages instead)
- Overgrown clumps of snowdrops & winter aconite bulbs can be divided & moved to where ever you’d like more
Divide overgrown perennials astilbe, daylilies, hostas lamb’s ears…)
- cut the tops back to a couple of inches.
- lift the whole plant out with a fork.
- look for a natural line across the plant and cut it with a sharp knife right through.
- continue this until you have divided the plant up to suit your needs.
- replant the pieces in groups of 3-5 to make an impact in ornamental borders from repeating color schemes.
- pot up spares immediately.
- water well.
- Edge the beds & lawns, slicing the grass runners and digging out any weeds while they’re still easy to manage.
- The grass is prime now,
- Re-seed any bare areas: scratch the surface with a lawn rake and sow.
Veg & Berry Patch
- Plant the potatoes after they start to sprout.
- It’s warm enough now to take the heavy winter protection off the asparagus & strawberry beds
- Dig out the winter kale as it finishes up & goes to flower (unless you’re waiting to collect seed
Get into the raspberry patch (or loganberry, or blackberry…)
- take out the spent & spindly stems.
- tie this year’s producers to the trellis.
Direct seed carrots, leeks, onions, spinach, swiss chard, beets, parsnips, broccoli, radishes, arugula, broad beans, corn salad, kale, chard, spinach, oriental greens, and peas outdoors.
Greenhouse & Cold Frames
- tomatoes, peppers, squash, cucumbers & eggplants if you haven’t already
- move starts into larger pots as necessary
Watch for ‘damping off’ disease in seedlings in the greenhouse or indoors. This fungus causes the stems to collapse and the seedlings to fall over.
- avoid over-crowding seeds & sprouts. It’s better to have a tray of fewer, healthy plants than to lose many to this disease
- water often, but sparingly
- give seedlings enough light to prevent them becoming ‘leggy’
- turn seed trays daily to ensure even growth.
trees: early apple… plum… cherries…. crabapple… pear… dogwood… magnolia…
shrubs: forsythia… flowering red currant… silk tassel bush… camellia… oregon grape… heathers… pieris (lily of the valley shrub)… heavenly bamboo… early rhododendron… early azalea…
perennials: aubretia… basket of gold (aurinia)… candy tuft… wild violets… trillium… pasque flower… bleeding hearts… erysimum (wall flower)… euphorbia… leopard’s bane… myosotis (forget me nots)… pulmonaria… bergenia… hellebore… primula… winter jasmine… vinca (periwinkle)…
bulbs: fawn lily… daffodils… tulips… grape hyacinth… chionodoxa (glory of snow)…
Planning & Events
- View Royal Garden Club hosts its spring show (usually the first weekend in April)…
- Local Dahlia Club hosts its spring sale (usually the 2nd weekend in April)…
- Horticultural Centre of the Pacific, my favorite teaching garden, host their spring sale (usually the last weekend in April)…
- I also start making a wish list for Swan Lake Nature Sanctuary’s Native Plant Sale (usually mid-May)…
© SVSeekins, 2014