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Notes from the Garden: Spring Kick Off at Bettman

More of us will be spending extra time in our yards the coming weeks, and you may be noticing that there’s a lot of work to be done. Gardening is one of the healthiest activities you can take on. Fresh air, exercise, the quiet of nature and the ability to use your creative energy to create something that is healthy for you and your family. Don’t fear, dig in. Of course, if it’s too much we are here to help.

(Above) There it is, my soon-to-be Pollinator Garden at Bettman. It’s time to clean the beds and make ready for new plants.

My three tips to get you started this spring. 

1) Last year you planted a pollinator garden, now what? I leave my plants up through winter: many of the pollinator plants are great for winter interest. But now that the days are warmer, we need to start cutting back spent perennials. Some spent stems will lift from the plants with ease. But pull lightly. If the foliage is damp or still attached, we don’t want to pull the plant from the soil. Using clean pruners is the way to go.

2) Time to trim Epimediums. I adore this plant. In the very early spring it starts to bloom. Unfortunately, last year’s foliage is often still standing. I use hand pruners to cut back the spent foliage because it won’t lift or pull away easily. A little pruning is the best action plan for tidying up the spring Epimedium patch.

3) Amendment.  If you are extending or adding new gardens, and the soil is not too wet, now is the time to amend the soil. In my shade garden the soil was so wet it smelled like a bog (not good!) So I turned in pine fines. Now the soil has excellent air and water circulation and it’s teeming with life (i.e. earthworks). Great soil prep is the foundation for a rewarding garden.

Happy gardening!


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