For some, spring cleaning means washing windows. For you it means taking stock of your flower beds, clearing out what winter’s frost left behind. For some, spring shopping means finding the latest adorable print skirt and matching sleeveless top. For you it means discovering what your favorite garden center is recommending for summer plantings.
So, grab your gardening gloves and let’s get started. Your beds are waiting.
- Clear out your beds of dead plant material.
- Trim ornamental trees and bushes.
- If you’ve never had your soil tested, now is the time to do so. Collect some from each bed if you feel the soil varies.
- Visit your favorite garden center or order plants online.
- Plant trees and shrubs and divide perennials and ornamental grasses.
- Have your irrigation system serviced if it’s been a while. You can save lots of money by watering more efficiently.
- Clean out birdhouses and feeders. Make sure birdbaths are filled with fresh water.
MID-APRIL (after frost danger has passed)
- Work in organic matter and any nutrients your soil needs.
- Determine where to place new plants and evaluate whether existing plants should be relocated to different beds.
- Remove faded spring blooms.
- Adjust lawn watering schedule to allow for spring rainfall.
- Get control of weeds now.
THE WOW FACTOR
To make the greatest impact with your beds, try a cohesive color theme. For a romantic garden, choose soft pinks, white, purple and blue blooms. For a bolder splash of color, combine red, orange, yellow and white. Pay attention to foliage, too. ‘Green’ can come in a carnival of shades as well!
LATE APRIL to EARLY MAY
Once soil is healthy and dead material is cleared away, you can place annuals and new plants in beds. Good choices for color include: alyssum, bachelor buttons, begonia, caladium, dianthus (Sweet William), geranium, impatiens, lantana, marigold, petunia, salvia and zinnia. If you haven’t added mulch to your beds, do so as soon as new plants are in place.
Grass may need more water, depending on rainfall, and more frequent mowing. But be careful not to cut it too short or it might burn as temperatures increase.
- Stake tall plants to keep stalks from breaking.
- Fertilize blooming plants.
- Check for signs of pests and under- or overwatering.
- Frequently check water levels in birdbaths.
- Secure new growth on vines to keep them looking neat.
- Keep up with your weeding and fertilizing.
Get to know your local nursery staff. You can save time and money by asking questions of your neighborhood expert. Ask about their return policy should the plants you purchase not survive.
EARLY TO MID-JUNE
If your first plantings are starting to wilt from the rising temps, replace them with heat-tolerant plants such as verbena, periwinkle (vinca) or portulaca (moss rose).
LEAVE IT TO THE PROS
If you think landscaping companies are expensive, think again! A professional landscaper can prove to be the smartest gardening investment you make. Many options exist: Let them do it all or just get your started. You can hire them to design a plan and you provide the plants and labor. Or consider letting them provide the plants, even if you put them in place. Their access to wholesale distributors can save you money over buying the plants yourself.
- Deadhead blooms to remove spent blossoms. Deadheading helps flowering plants bloom longer.
- Inventory your beds. What worked, what didn’t?
- Make notes regarding which plants you’d plant again, which ones you didn’t enjoy.
- Look ahead to fall plantings.
- Shop around for late season sales but avoid planting anything new until the temperatures drop.
- Watch for sales on garden accessories including tools, benches, birdhouses and ornamental features.