With slightly warmer temperatures and a few periods of sunshine over he last few days, our snow cover has really retreated. It’s always a bit amazing how fast that blanket can be replaced with soggy, leaf cluttered earth. For the first time this season I had my garden snips in my hand and took a long stroll throughout the garden. As anxious as I am to get right in there, I reminded myself of the potential damage I could do.
As long as your soil is still soaking wet from the spring thaw you should not be stepping into your flower beds. Walking over your wet soil compacts it, removing the air pockets that plants will require later. This is especially true if your soil is on the clay side. Walk on it now and you will create a hard, cement like topping which will later be very difficult for plant growth.
If you have paths you can reach into your garden from this is fine. From there you can successfully cut pack perennials that were left in the fall. Cut dead stems as close to the ground as possible, however refrain form being overly zealous in your cleaning of the crown areas. There is always the chance in early spring of getting a killing late frost. The leaves and plant material around the crowns will protect the new growth coming up underneath. If you rake this all off, you are leaving the tender new growth shoots without any protection and they could be seriously damaged. It’s best to leave this type of finishing work for a bit later.
Visiting your local garden centre can be deadly right now. Most are filing up with new plant material from the growers that is as enticing to a gardener as a candy shop is to children. It is so tempting to bring stuff home, even though it is far too early for planting. You will rationalize that you will just keep them protected on the porch or in a sunlit garage and all will be fine, when in fact it never really is. Plants brought home at this time often decline, some even die. It is much better to make your list now, and buy your plants closer to the date that you can pop them right into the ground as soon as you get home. It is also tempting to buy plants all at once, but only bring home what you know you can actually plant within a few days. Plants can be expensive, especially the new cultivars that have caught your eye and you don’t want to loose them.
If you grow roses don’t be in big hurry to prune off the dead winter growth. If you are unlucky enough to get a late hard frost, only more cane will succumb. If the winter has already been unkind to the cane health, you will end up pruning back further than you want to remove all the black cane.
While your waiting for a few more weeks to go by so you can really get in there, dig out your tools and make sure they are ready to go. Clean out your garden shed if it needs it and stock up on soil and any organic fertilizers you use. Find yourself a new pair of strong gardening gloves, get your hoses organized and repaired. Rake the leaves off your lawns and walkways and prepare your pots for planting.
“ In spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.” by Margaret Attwood
JONQUIL is the official flower for the month of MARCH, symbolizing Desire, Respect, Re-birth, Sympathy and Good Fortune.