Guess what happened while we’ve been cooped up at home for over a month… Spring arrived! Being at home this month trying to balance remote work and the kids’ online schooling, cooking what feels like 24/7, and trying to keep the house from chaos, totally made me miss the fact that winter is over and spring has arrived. I went to the store yesterday wearing a long sleeve shirt because that is where I left off the weather, and that’s how I realized the seasons changed. And now that I’ve realized it, I want to take advantage of my time at home to make my yard beautiful, since that is where I’ll be spending most of my days until this situation is over. Here are some tips for you to get your garden green and beautiful by the time spring reaches its peak:
Check the yard. The first thing to do in order to improve your yard is to see what happened out there while you were indoors. Put on your inspector’s hat (or your gardener’s hat) and head out to the garden. Start surveying from the top: look at the condition of the trees and branches and determine whether any are encroaching or hanging over structures or electric cables and need to be cut. Next, go down a level and look at any perennial foliage that might need to be cut down or removed. Then, check fences, pathways, planters, and other hardscaped areas for signs of damage. Lastly, go down to the ground level and look at the condition of the mulch and check for evidence of animal burrows. Once you are done surveying your yard, check your tools to make sure they're in good shape for when it's time to work.
Spring cleaning. Now that you know the condition of your yard, put your gardening gloves on and start clearing your yard from fallen branches, last year’s perennial foliage, and any annuals you might have forgotten to remove at the end of last fall. Clean up your pond or waterfall and scrub containers and empty pots. Replace old mulch with fresh new one. A fresh layer of mulch will give your yard a clean, tidied-up look, and help suppress weeds and retain moisture.
Refresh the lawn. Spring is an important time to pay attention to your grass, so check your lawn mower and leaf blower, check your sprinkler system, clear your lawn from debris and look for areas that might need reseeding.
Feed the soil. Early spring, just before your bulbs are starting to emerge, is a great time to top dress the soil with compost or manure (an inch or two should be enough) and sprinkle it with some slow-release plant food. Once you sprinkle plant food around your perennials and shrubs, worms and garden creatures will take care of bringing these materials down into the soil.
Prune. Most shrubs have an appealing natural look that doesn’t require pruning, but if you are looking to improve flowering and fruiting, encourage rebloom, repair damage from winter ice, snow and cold, or shorten an overgrown shrub, read this detailed guide from Pruning Demystified. Make sure you don’t prune early flowering shrubs blooming from last year’s stems,or you'll cut off this year’s flower buds unintentionally.
Transplant shrubs and perennials. If you have any summer and fall blooming perennials that might have outgrown their space, early spring is a great time to transplant or divide them. This is also a great time to move evergreen and deciduous shrubs without causing much stress on the plants and allowing them enough time to re-establish themselves before their new growth appears.
Plant. Now is a great time to transplant container-grown plants and plant some new, cool weather loving plants like pansies, daisies, poppies, and calendula, as well as vegetables such as lettuce, parsley, and spinach. Make sure to water them thoroughly before and after they fo in the ground.