Gardening by the Yard
By Tom Corbin
A Fairlington Gardener
Early Spring 2005 Gardening Tips
Do you find yourself staring longingly out the window searching for green? Are you anxious to get your hands in the soil? Are you plotting the size of the forsythia and cherry tree buds? Have you counted the daffodil buds? If so, then, indeed, you have it - Spring Fever! It's going around and the FDA does not have a vaccine for it!
Experience teaches that our weather does not "settle down" and become real spring until after Easter (always the first Sunday after the first full moon after the spring equinox), so we must be patient.
Don't be quick to put out summer material, for it will sit there or rot if planted too early. Remember summer annuals and perennials need steady night warmth to survive and grow. We all know that nurseries will have geraniums, marigolds, impatiens, etc. for sale for Easter, but hold off unless you want to replant.Cold Hardy Plants
Biennials such as pansies, calendula, snapdragons, sweet William can go in now as can early spring perennials which bloom with the spring bulbs. Nurseries always have tempting blooming bleeding hearts for sale, but be careful about putting these out too early as they can be zapped by a cold spell. Unless it's cold hardy, has been hardened off outside of a greenhouse, or is an emerging perennial, your best bet is to hold off and not plant until the onset of settled warm weather.
Brighten your patio by making an early container grouping of pansies, alyssum (the hardy yellow variety), colorful lettuce plants, and English daisies. This grouping will carry you into May when you can replant with summer material.Clean Up and Prune
Finish any border clean up and carefully loosen the mulch around emerging bulb tips. Prune any summer flowering shrubs (those that bloom on new growth) such as Rose of Sharon, butterfly bush, roses, hardy hibiscus. Prune spring flowering shrubs after flowering. If you do anything to your azaleas now (except remove deadwood), you lose the flowers. Keep your pansies blooming by frequent deadheading (removing spent blooms). Dried tops of perennial grasses should be cut down.
Easter lilies are always an inside treat. Select short to medium size plants with dark green foliage and buds just about to open. Remove flowers as they fade and keep the plant growing until it is safe to plant outside. Plant about three inches below the soil in a sunny location. The plant will gradually die back, but you can expect blooms next season in your border.
Check out the gardening feature on HGTV (Home and Garden TV) http://www.hgtv.com for tips and advice! You may also access the site from the Fairlington gardening page at http://www.fairlington.org/gardenadvisor.htm
Photo from Tom's Garden
Commons Resident Guy L. Adams
(Click on Photo for More Images)
Fairlington Historic District Links