Isn't this the perfect description of April? I know - I know Lowell was actually speaking in his poem of June…but what's a month or two? April - growth, blossoms, flower markets, home and garden tours, and being outside, we all feel that "stir of might" that is reawakening and gardening. And as Mr. Lowell says, "And whatever of life hath ebbed away comes flooding back…" It's spring.
April Gardening “Doings”
Gardening experts warn us to beware of our urges to purchase
summer annuals now. Yes, Home Depot and
Lowes and other “bulk” commercial dealers have impatiens,
There are “cold hardy” plants that can be safely planted now. These include pansies (of course), snapdragons, wallflowers, alyssum, calendulas, candytuft, primroses, English daisies, and perennials that will bloom later this month. Pansies have certainly enjoyed the cool weather we have experienced; unfortunately with the advent of "hot" temperatures, pansies tend to bolt and fade in the heat. Since they do like cooler temps, it is always advisable to plant them in the fall. By the time pansies have finished, it’s time to replace them with those annuals.
Deadhead (remove spent flowers) to keep the garden clean and blooming.
Even though we have had a few showers, we are still several inches below normal rainfall. Thorough and deep watering is the key to plant health.
All of us "ohhh" and "ahhh" at the sight of a beautiful blooming clematis – you know that vine with the amazingly colorful and spectacular flowers.
Clematis is not as difficult to grow as one thinks. Most clematis like full sun, but those with more pastel colors like light shade. They prefer moist, well drained, slightly acidic soil. The old plant "myth" was that they liked their "feet" – roots - in the shade and "head" – foliage and blossoms – in the sun. Recent horticulture research shows this not to be true and they can stand full sun.
Like most plants, they also like regular waterings and feedings. Prune to control growth and shape the plant; be sure you establish whether or not your variety blooms on "new" (current season’s growth) or "old" (last year’s growth) wood. A healthy plant will recover from even some mistaken prunings!
There is a clematis for bloom in every season – if we only had the space to grow them!
Some Perennial Plants to Consider for Edging Use
For sunny spots consider catmints (nepeta) (Note: this is not catnip!), dwarf fountain grass (pennisetum), Lambs’ ears (stachys lantana), Stokes’ asters, or "snowcap" Shasta daisy (leucanthemum).
In more shady borders, some edging favorites include lungwort (pulmonaria), cranesbill geranium (the perennial geranium), hardy begonia (begonia grandis) – a perennial, heuchera (the old fashion coral bells now available in many leaf colors), dicentra "King of Hearts" (bleeding hearts sometimes called Dutchman’s breeches), and the dwarf columbines. (Pictured at the left is a healthy lambs’ ear.)
Help the environment – support earth day, 2006
For More information click on http://www.alexearthday.org
Saturday, April 29, 2006
9 AM – 12 Noon
The April Garden "Housekeeping" Guide!
Take a “mental
health” day and go out to see others’ gardens.
Spring is the active house and garden tour season. Usually in mid April “The
Some tours worth taking include the following:
“Local” Virginia Garden Week
Fairlington Meadows B & G Patio Tour scheduled for July (check their website)
If you have had particular success with a favorite plant, consider sharing your experience with others. Send along your garden experiences. Also when your garden is at peak spring or summer bloom, snap a photo and send it to email@example.com for posting in this column. And questions are always welcomed.
Fairlington Historic District Links