A Season of Renewal - Spring Gardening Tasks

By Kathy Jentz, Editor & Publisher of Washington Gardener Magazine

This is part two of Kathy's guest blog post where she writes about some great gardening tips for spring.  Be sure to check out yesterday's post for even more!  Kathy shared some great information during her gardening talk last night at AWS.  Below, she's modeling her new AWS tote bag filled with AWS goodies.  Thanks for coming out last night, Kathy!  We all had a great time and learned a lot!

Buy, borrow, or check out from your local library, a comprehensive pruning book that will give you specific techniques for tending to the plants in your yard. This is the time to prune many of your evergreens, ornamental trees, raspberry canes, grapevines, butterfly blush, and many other trees and shrubs. Have on hand good hand pruners, loppers, and a pruning saw. Before you begin, give them a good cleaning and sharpening. Then put on your sturdy leather gloves and safety glasses. An afternoon spent pruning can actually be therapeutic and exhilarating.

You can start gathering your garden bounty for colorful bouquets. If you planted bulbs last fall, you should have a nice selection to choose from. (One caveat: do not combine daffodils with other flowers in one vase. They give off a toxic substance they may kill your other blooms off prematurely.) Make it a weekly task to gather a few things from your yard for indoor enjoyment both at work and at home. Don’t ignore tree branches and shrubs such as pussy willow, quince, forsythia, cherry, rhododendron, and witch hazel. These make fantastic, sculptural arrangements. You can kill two birds with one stone, so to speak, by combining your pruning chores with your bouquet gathering ones.

Speaking of birds, they are out in your garden along with you getting ready for the season of rebirth. Provide them with nesting materials. Try dryer lint, bits of strings, human and pet hair. Place the offerings along your fence or in tree limbs. Put out a few houses for the start of their family season. When situating a bird house, put them high on metal poles and away from any bird feeders so as to protect them from predators. Face the bird house entrance holes north or east to avoid overheating the box in the late spring and summer.

Now is also the best time to get a jump on weeding before the get the best of your garden beds. Doing it in short bursts will save your knees and back. Be careful not to step into garden beds or on wet soil so that you do not compact the ground. Weed by hand after a good soaking rain to avoid disturbing the new roots of your garden plants. Always wear gloves. Run your nails over a cake of soap to protect them and make clean up easier.

At this time of renewal, it is a great opportunity to look at your yard with fresh eyes. Think about expanding your garden beds, replacing turf grass with groundcovers, starting some edibles from seed, and maybe even adding a few larger projects like a pond, slate path, or a retaining wall.

Use that sun-fueled energy to get out there and transform your balcony, deck, or patio into a container garden oasis. Add a bench or chairs, throw around some cushions, and place a small table nearby for your drinks plus reading materials. Then schedule in some down time in the upcoming months to just kick back and relax in your garden paradise.

About the Author
Kathy Jentz is editor/publisher of Washington Gardener magazine. Washington Gardener magazine, is a new gardening publication published specifically for the local metro area — zones 6-7 — Washington DC and its suburbs.

The magazine is written entirely by local area gardeners. They have real-world knowledge and practical advice with the same problems you experience in your own gardens. They share their thoughts on what to plant in deep shade, how to cover bare spots, which annuals work best throughout the humid DC summers, and much more. If you are a DC area gardener, you’ll love Washington Gardener magazine!

The magazine is published six times per year with a cover price of $4.99. A year’s subscription is $20.00. To subscribe to the magazine: Send a check/money order for $20.00 payable to “Washington Gardener” magazine to: Washington Gardener, 826 Philadelphia Ave., Silver Spring, MD 20910 OR to pay via Paypal/credit card click on the “subscribe” link at www.WashingtonGardener.com.

Washington Gardener magazine also makes a great gift for the gardeners and new home owners in your life.



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