Winter to Spring Gardening
At some point recently I ran out of winter. Enjoying a late winter snow then being tossed around by piercing winds for a few days only to land on a weekend of blue skies and sunny temperatures has my gardening clock in a quandary.
At Maymont we are in high gear finishing up the winter chores to then quickly move our focus to the spring tasks. We have clipped the Liriope, cut back the butterfly bushes, trimmed last year’s growth from the perennial beds, and plucked the boxwood. Maymont guests are enjoying the fresh mulch we spread and the clean look of a newly raked lawn. We are finishing up rose pruning in the Italian Garden while planting new roses nearby. Yes, we do replace a bushel of old soil with new compost where we plant roses due to the allelopathic tendency rose roots have as they inhibit other roses from growing in the same area.
On the “to do” list is finishing the final shrub and tree plantings because we have no irrigation to water these plants through the summer except by pulling hoses. We will also complete the final pruning tasks such as a reduction prune of the bayberry around the fox holding area. We will just remove the largest growth by making a cut within the shrub to reduce the crown of the plant without shearing the top of the plant off. Cleaning up the beds, fertilizing where needed and mulching are priorities while trying get everything edged as well. We are in full gear and with the spring temperatures, our volunteers will be in to help get it all done.
At home I have enjoyed a busman’s holiday by finally removing by hand the Vinca minor that has choked my perennial borders. I have also pulled the Nandina domestica seedlings from around the base of the main plant so it will not creep into other shrubs nearby. With such high soil moisture the roots are easily pulled from the soften earth. I am inspecting everything for signs of insect and disease while trimming, pruning, raking, fertilizing and mulching.
I recently planted the spring vegetables and now I am tending them with dreams of fresh lettuce, peas and radishes gracing my table fairly soon. Cold crops are available at local garden centers along with many leaf crops as well for those who can’t start them from seed. It is far too early to put out the tomatoes but you can still start them indoors for a May 1st planting here in Central Virginia.
I don’t know about you but I am enjoying these lengthening days watching the tree buds swell and plants emerge as the earth warms to the sun. Spring is aptly named!