Monday, April 18, 2011

Ready, Set, Go!

Our unseasonably cool April has slowed gardeners down a bit this year. Many of us, especially those of us out in the northern and western Baltimore suburbs want to get going with our container plantings and annual beds outside. Mother's Day may be the rule for tender annuals like impatiens and begonias, but many plants can go outside right now without worrying about low temperatures and frost.
Verbena is available in many colors. It is great to use as a trailing plant in a planter or as a very colorful groundcover that will bloom all summer. We use them in combination with geraniums and petunia in our farm greenhouse-grown hanging baskets.

Another hanging basket favorite is the Wave petunia. Burgundy Star was new last year. If performed well through our cool spring and hot summer in 2010.

The family of black petunias is new this year. Phantom, Pinstripe and Black Velvet have all garnered lots of attention from garden writers this year.
 Many other annuals do well planted now and often blooming all summer long. Take a look at beautiful pink diascia, snapdragons, alyssum, dusty miller and all sorts of hybrid petunias. In the meantime, be patient. Warmer weather is just around the corner.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Spring To-Do List

Finally, spring looks like it may be here to stay. Here is my to-do list for my next couple of  days off. What's yours?

Replace foundation shrubs around the house. I'll be looking for deer resistant shrubs and maybe a few azaleas. I'll be using Liquid Fence to keep the animals away.
Deer-resistant plum yew
Add compost or Leafgro to all of my garden beds to get them ready for planting. Leafgro adds much needed organic matter to the soil, creating a healthy environment for growing.

Leafgro, our favorite soil amendment
Plant cole crops, like broccoli and cabbage. Lettuce, peas, onions and potatoes can go in now too. Wait a bit on tomatoes, peppers and eggplant unless you live in Baltimore city or areas south.

Cole crops and lettuces are grown by Valley View Farms
Plant spring-blooming trees and shrubs. A little color goes a long way to get spring started in the yard.

Nothing says spring like forsythia

Now is a great time to add perennials too. Beautiful pastels are especially valued for spring color.

Phlox subulata is great for slopes
Feed trees, shrubs, perennials and vegetable plants to get their roots, leaves and blooms ready to go for spring and summer.
Espoma is one of our lines of fertilizer
And, finally, get a head start on pesky weeds. Use Jonathan Green's Crabgrass Preventer and Greenup for a beautiful lawn. Use Amaze and Concern weed preventers to keep garden beds weed free.

Is that Scotty hiding behind the crabgrass preventer?
Weed preventers are a real timesaver

I will also take some time to stop and smell the roses, pansies and other spring flowers. Hope you have a fun and productive time getting ready for spring and summer.
I love, love, love pansies