At last, spring, it seems like it’s here to stay. While the daffodils in the yard across the street from us have been blooming for some time, ours took a little longer, but every bit worth the wait; the maple trees are now gradually breaking dormancy, clusters of iris leaves showing up in all kinds of expected or unexpected places, and our almond tree, as I am preparing this column, is covered with delicately scented pink flowers. Needless to say, watching the winter-rested vegetation come to life is not only a pleasure but brings a sigh of relief, too, that those cold wintry days are behind us.
Though spring has indeed arrived, it doesn’t, however, mean that we get into an overdrive and start planting tender annuals and vegetables, for we can get late spring frosts until around the last part of April; planted too soon, such plants either don’t make it or show poor or stunted growth if they do survive at all. Therefore, rather than rushing into activities that are better done when the time is right, here are some suggestions which might help overcome the “gardener’s itch”
- Unless already done, remove dried leaves or debris around emerging perennials taking care not to injure the tender growth; also, to give the developing plants a boost, one can apply a slow-release fertilizer such as Plant-tone.
- Stake or put rings around peonies while the young shoots are just a few inches tall; you will be surprised how fast they grow.
- Clear beds, areas or prepare containers where annuals or vegetables are to be grown; to have an early start, one can still plant seeds of flowers and vegetables indoors, timing in a way that seedlings can be transplanted outdoors when the danger of frost is over and the soil has warmed up.
- Visit garden centers to check what’s new for this year. It’s always exciting to grow something not tried before.
- Tools can use some inspection at this, too. To avoid unnecessary injury, discard the ones which are broken or not functional any longer.
- While it sounds daunting, but before weeds take over, control these pesky plants by removing manually, at least whenever possible; aside from being a good physical activity, a nice feeling of accomplishment comes by finishing such chores.
- Sign up for seminars, classes or garden tours offered locally. In addition to the educational benefit, you never know whom you might run into - maybe another gardener you knew a long time back!
- Last of all, do take the time to soak the soothing spring sun, allowing the cool, crisp air to awaken the mind and the spirit. And, if possible, don’t forget to cut some fresh flowers from the garden to bring inside the house.