Late Winter/Early Spring Garden Chores

Let’s face it, all it takes this time of year are a few bright, sunny, and not too cold days to draw gardeners outdoors. We investigate our shrubs for winter damage and poke around to find bulbs and perennials that are sprouting. While it’s too early to really dig in (so to speak), we can take advantage of a sunny afternoon and get a few early season chores done.

Here are some ideas: 
• February was rose pruning time. So, if you haven’t done this chore yet be sure to jump on it immediately! Even shrub roses such as Knockouts and Drifts benefit from a hard pruning each spring. Cut all canes back by approximately ½ to 2/3 and prune out weak unproductive canes entirely. 
• Rake back any thick or matted layers of leaves that may be preventing spring bulbs from growing. 
• Likewise, rake back any leaves covering very early perennials, such as hellebores and pulmonaria. Cut back last year’s hellebore foliage so those early flowers are easily distinguished. 
• Prune out any weak, broken, crossing or wayward branches on deciduous plants while they’re easy to see and before the sap really begins rising. 
• It’s also a good time to tackle summer blooming shrubs which need rejuvenating or “resizing.” This includes things like Panicle Hydrangea (Hydrangea paniculata), Rose of Sharon (Hibiscus syriacus), and Japanese Spiraea (Spiraea japonica – the pink fuzzy blooming types). These can be reduced by as much as ½ and still recover and bloom well the same season. Established Japanese Spiraeas can be pruned to the ground and allowed to completely start over. 
• Wait to prune spring flowering shrubs until after they’ve bloomed. Please DO NOT indiscriminately hack back your Crepe Myrtles. This is Crepe Murder and it’s unacceptable gardening behavior!

March Feature – Hellebore, The Lenten Rose

Lenten Roses (so named because they often are blooming during the 40 day preparatory season before Easter called Lent) are gardener’s favorites for many reasons and need only a few sunny, warmish days in late winter to coax them into bloom. Just when we are tiring of the gloomy weather and losing interest in our “winter interest” plants, up pop these little beauties in shades of white and cream to pinks, purples and into burgundy red.

There are single, double and speckled varieties, and lately, the cream has been pushed towards a yellow pigment. You may float some blooms in a bowl to enjoy them inside. They are easy to grow in shade and evergreen, and are also deer resistant, long-lived, drought tolerant, and among the first flowers of spring! What’s not to love? We have a great selection and plenty in stock. So, if you haven’t tried them yet now’s the time!  And if you have tried them, perhaps it’s time to add to your collection…

March Gardening Tips

Meet Sean!
He’s Kiefer Nursery’s manager and is here to share with you some planting tips in the video below.  You may have already started planting for the Spring, and if you haven’t, then March is the time to do it!  Be ready, Spring is coming!

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