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  • Writer's pictureRick King

Hope Valley Living - February 2019

Updated: May 12, 2021

Where does a garden designer start when asked to write about ideas for spring gardens? The first thing that comes to my mind when asked about spring gardens is an image of daffodil clumps sporting clusters of cheery yellow blooms, or perhaps tulips waving above a carpet of late winter blooming pansies. While lovely, both of those things would have to have been planted last fall! What to do NOW?

Spring is a wonderful time to plant anything, but perennials (they are the ones that come back year after year) that are planted in the next few weeks will have plenty of time to put down a good root system before the summer heat arrives. This is convenient, as this is also the time the perennials will show up in your local garden centers. When choosing perennials, choose a color scheme that you would like to experience through the spring. Then remember that most perennials only bloom for a few weeks. Choose plants that provide you favored colors, but be sure to mix (or mass) different plantings that bloom at different times. Don’t be that garden center customer who buys everything that is blooming on that one visit and don’t buy one of everything. Do the first, and that will sentence you to a garden that only blooms once a year for a couple of weeks. Do the second, and you have a mish-mash of plants without a cohesive look. Don’t have time to research bloom times? Plan on visiting your garden center every few weeks and leave yourself room to plant over the course of the season. Or, call a local professional that can help you draw up a plan of action for the garden! Be careful to not only think of bloom color but also texture of the foliage and the menu preferences of our antlered, four-legged friends.

Flowering annuals, like the impatiens, caladiums, and petunias that they sell by the

tray, make great accent color splashes. Even though they must be planted every year, they make excellent “filler” material.

Finally, remember that bed preparation is everything for a successful planting.

Thorough mixing of composted organic material is preferable to simply adding topsoil on top of the bed. Try to add some phosphorus to the bed. This is a component of fertilizer for roots and flowers. With compost added, other fertilizer is not needed. Top off with a nice blanket of mulch will help with weed control and moisture management. For flowering perennials, shredded hardwood is probably the best choice.

Most of all – have fun being outside and enjoying yourself this spring!

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