Spring has officially sprung and while we’re all making our lists of what needs doing in the garden this month, I thought it might be helpful to share what we, here at Utopic Gardens, are doing for our clients, to reset their garden and encourage new growth and vitality. By our specialized quarterly care, we have the opportunity to support the original intention we had, for each individual garden, when it was first designed and installed.
Healthy soil grows healthy plants:
Add natural and Organic amendments to your planting beds and edible garden and turn over now, to give time before planting, to encourage beneficial organisms to either move into the garden or to support the continued growth of Mycorrhizae, earthworms, fungi and insects- which recycle the nutrients into ‘nutrient- ready’ food, naturally absorbed by plant roots.
You can also rake a layer of compost onto your lawn!
April showers bring May flowers: A splash of color in the garden, from Annuals such as Impatiens, Petunias, Marigolds, Cosmos and Lobelia, can be more dramatic and impressive if planted densely, in waves or groves, rather than sporadically.
Speaking of color, now is a good time to choose Rhododendrons at the local nurseries, as many are blooming this month.
Planting in the Spring provides an opportunity to take advantage of the moist, cool weather, when plants are less likely to be effected by transplant shock, as they go from pot to garden.
Plant trees, perennials and shrubs too!
Snug as a bug in rug: Bark mulch, spread generously and evenly, over the top layer of soil, helps regulate soil moisture and temperature, discourages weed growth and provides a ‘tidy’ appearance.
We not only take into account what type of bark mulch would seem to naturally occur in each garden, such as Redwood bark chips amongst Azaleas and Rhododendrons, but what leaf and needle debris is falling from the overstory trees (canopy). If the falling leaves age to a brown or red color tone, they will be less noticeable on a red- brown toned mulch than on the black nitrified type.
Also consider sun exposure, when selecting mulch for your garden- the darker the color, the more it will absorb and hold the heat from the hot Summer sun, which is great for heat loving plants, but not for the more sensitive varieties.
Encourage your Mow & Blow crew to not blow away your investment- bark is costly!
Bigger, better, faster is not best: Rather than shock the soil (and plants) with synthetic, petroleum based fertilizers, which break down quickly, encourage rapid (unnatural) growth and shallow root systems, we instead opt to feed with natural or Organic plant based fertilizers, which are better absorbed by plants (creating less waste in our waterways), promote less ‘fertilizer- reliant’ plants, stronger root systems and support overall plant vitality.
Look for products from Dr. Earth, E.B Stone, Fox Farms and from the online source, Gardensalive.com.
Prune your way to the top: Late Winter and early Spring is a good time to prune back the previous years growth, to encourage optimal shape and growth for the new year.
Be sure to prune Spring blooming plants, like Dogwood, Rhododendron, Azalea, Loropetalum and Raphiolepis after they bloom!
Aphids & Slugs & Snails, Oh my! While your garden is benefitting from the cool moist Spring weather, so are Snails and Slugs, as eggs busily hatch amongst the tender new plant growth. While all critters serve a purpose, left unchecked, Snails and Slugs can unfortunately wreak serious damage. Before you start noticing the tell tale signs (shimmery shiny and ‘nibble as they go’ trails) spread environment and pet friendly Sluggo- biodegradable Iron Phosphate.
Try other more natural ‘pest’ remedies, like Beer (for Slugs & Snails) or handpicking after dark and Neem Oil for Aphids and Mites.
Each abbreviated subject I’ve mentioned can be wildly expanded upon, however I imagine it possible that, after reading, you’ve already added a few things to your list, so if your interest has been piqued, you may want to consider spending a few long Summer days reading up on and preparing your duties list for next Spring!