This winter will be long remembered for its cold, snow and duration. The combination of these extreme conditions was particularly hard on established plants that in past years have taken winter in stride. Adding to the challenge, assessing weather damage to garden plants has been delayed even longer because of the persistent cooler temperatures. The good news is that regardless of this week’s weather forecast, spring has finally arrived! It’s a good time to get gardening and we’ve compiled some tips that are especially relevant after our harsh winter and cooler than normal spring.
The most commonly asked question posed by our customers this spring is, “how can I tell if my plant is dead or alive?” Many plants are very late in showing new growth. Roses, buddleia, boxwoods, junipers and yews, among others, were cold damaged to different. Adding insult to injury, the unseasonably cold spring temperatures have made some established perennials slow to re-emerge also. Don’t give up hope yet—at least not until you’ve given plants a thorough examination. Look very closely for signs life at the base of plants such as roses and buddleia. Prune blackened or obviously dry branches. If you are unsure if a shoot or branch is dead, use your fingernail to scrape the bark. If there are any signs of green, leave it alone and give the plant more time to see if it will rally. For damaged evergreens, look very closely for tiny green buds at the tips of branches and inside the plant. If you don’t see any green at the tips, but do see some inside, carefully prune dead foliage. Give evergreen shrubs the same fingernail scrape test. The key is patience; some shrubs may take a couple of seasons to recover. Can’t wait? Then now is also the perfect time to replace dead or damaged shrubs, perennials and roses. The cooler spring temperatures will give plants time to get their roots established.
There’s no better time to add spring blooms to your garden that will greet you for many springs to come. Right now Redbuds and Crab Apples are bursting with color. If you are looking for a medium size trees these are two spring bloomers to consider. Many types of perennials are also blooming now and available at The Growing Place including: Phlox subulata (creeping phlox), Geum triflorum (prairie smoke), Pulmonaria, Violas, Dicentra, Myosotis, Corydalis and many more. Perennials that look great now and also give you long season color include: Geranium ‘Rozanne’ and the wide range of Heucheras.
We have thousands of plants to choose from and it can be daunting. It’s a good idea to visit the garden center regularly throughout the season so you can see when plants look their best and how they grow in our gardens. This will help when you’re planning what to plant in your garden.
Posted on 5/14/2014 at 10:45:00 PM