How does Your Garden Grow?

Louise Grabell

Spring has sprung and hopefully your garden has as well. There is so much to attend to if you are a gardener. Just like the seasons, there are phases for gardening and if you are well-organized (don’t look at me!) you have already completed some important gardening chores. 1. You cleaned and sharpened your gardening tools. Check! 2. You vacuumed the patio pillows and treated the frames. Check! 3. Bird feeders are cleaned/replaced and seed has been purchased. Check! 4. Potting soil and spade are ready for re-doing all container gardens. Check! 5. Soil amendment and fertilizer are on hand for flower and vegetable gardens. Check! I’m exhausted already and we haven’t even started!

I’ve already cleaned out my flower garden beds and added soil amendments. Some of the annuals I enjoy each year are already planted: zinnias (can’t have too many) and some marigolds. I don’t worry about spring flowers because my daffodils and amaryllis have already flowered and my bearded irises are next. Over the years, I have tried to plan the garden in such a way as to have a continuing display of flowers from March through October. Perennials are very helpful in this regard and they occupy about 50% of my flower garden space. Soon my blue sage will be blooming, followed by my daylilies. This is such a treat for those of us who have gardened in the northern climates where the growing season is only May through September.

Now is the time of year when many of your shrubs have grown and are in need of some pruning. Pruning does not mean shearing. There are pruning tools meant specifically to reduce the size of shrubs without making lollipops or cotton balls out of them. You are retired and have plenty of time to go out into the fresh air before the weather becomes too hot and actually prune those plants so they look smaller and not sheared off. Some shrubs are small enough that you can actually sit in a chair and prune while you sip a cool margarita. Tree branches may have grown so long and large that they are hanging over your driveway or hanging over the street, or even hanging over your neighbor’s yard. These, too, can be artfully pruned so that the removal of low-hanging branches does not change the basic shape of the tree. Any tree hanging over your neighbor’s yard that cannot be properly pruned without ruining the natural shape of the tree probably should not have been planted so close to your neighbor’s yard in the first place! An arborist may be able to reduce the entire size of such a tree without destroying the flow of its branches and the beauty Mother Nature intended.

Your Master Gardeners invite you to visit their new website: http://saddlebrookemastergardeners.org/ for all up-to-date information and events for our community. Garden questions? You can reach our very own Garden Helpline by calling Pat at 407-6459.

Remember, nothing brings more tranquility to the heart than a beautiful garden.