Are you itching to get out in the garden? Here are a few things you can do in your early spring garden that will pay off this summer.
Add Seasonal Color with Frost Tolerant Annual Flowers
Even though there is still a nip in the air, there are flowers that you can plant now that will bloom from spring through fall. Fill containers and pockets in flower borders with frost-tolerant varieties such as Dark Knight™ Lobularia, Laguna™ Sky Blue Lobelia, Snow Princess® Lobularia. Because these plants are also heat-tolerant, you don’t have to worry about replacing them in summer like you do with traditional spring flowers such as pansies.
Prune Flowering Shrubs that Flower on New Wood
Shrubs to prune in early spring include those that bloom on new wood (the current season’s growth) such as Hydrangea paniculata, Hydrangea arborescens, Buddleia and landscape roses. Remove dead and diseased stems, crisscrossing branches and, if needed, reduce the height by about 1/3. Wait to prune forsythia, azaleas, lilacs, quince. These shrubs bloom on old wood, which means they set flower buds during the growing season for blooms next year. One exception worth noting is Hydrangea macrophylla. Though it flowers on old wood, it blooms late in the season, which doesn’t allow sufficient time for flower buds to develop before cold weather sets in. These hydrangeas are best left unpruned except for removing any dead or damaged wood in early spring, just as the new growth begins to appear.
Want to learn more about growing and pruning hydrangeas? Read “Hydrangeas Demystified” on ProvenWinners.com.
Cut Back and Clean Up Fall Leftovers
If you left ornamental grass and perennial foliage standing over winter, cut back them back now before new growth emerges. To prevent diseases and pests from carrying over, trash any unhealthy clippings rather than compost them.
Feed Your Soil
Good soil is essential for a beautiful garden and soil needs nourishment. Every spring and fall I add compost and well-rotted manure to flower beds to increase friability and beneficial organisms. Slow release fertilizer will get your plants off to a solid start and complement liquid fertilizer applications during the growing season.
Take Stock and Stock Up
Inventory your potting shed. Do you have plenty of potting soil, fertilizer and organic pest controls? Buy these items now so you’ll have them ready once the growing season starts. Replenishing your supply now is also easier on your budget because it spreads the spending out instead of purchasing plants and essentials at the same time.
Early spring is also a good time to clean containers and decide if you need new ones.
Not only will these spring garden tasks help cure your spring fever, but you’ll also be prepared to hit the ground running when the growing season starts in earnest.