Now that spring is here, it’s time to beautify your flowerbeds and walkways, adorn your planters and inject some colour into the landscape! Whether you enjoy container gardening for your balcony or porch, or you have extensive flowerbeds, introducing a little colour goes a long way towards lifting our spirits. Here are some helpful tips from local experts to help get your gardening underway this spring.
Best Bets for Bulbs & Plants
There’s definitely an art to container gardening; they require plants of different heights and variations in colour. Jennifer Klassen, manager of Centro Garden in Burlington, recommends ornamental grasses or canna lilies for height, sweet potato vines that will trail nicely over the edges, and flowers such as impatiens, begonias or geraniums in the mid-height range to provide the colour. Centro is well known for its succulent planters. One of Klassen’s favourites is the rosette, which looks like a big flower.
If it’s your flowerbeds that need to be spruced up, Klassen says you can use many of the same plants. “I run sweet potato vine along my front sidewalk – it fills in like ground cover. I love it,” she explains. She also suggests ornamental grasses or canna lilies which can be planted towards the back of the flowerbeds for height.
Selecting and planting bulbs will result in beautiful blooms and can be especially rewarding, seeing them sprout out of the ground and grow each spring. “Any of the summer flowering bulbs can be planted in May,” says Erica Lowartz-Cozzarin, store manager at Sheridan Nurseries in Oakville/Mississauga. Choose dahlias, lilies, gladioli or caladiums (elephant ears), taking care to plant them where they get the right amount of sun or shade.
Plant Prep Work
Your beds and soil may need a bit of extra care after the harsh winter we have just had. “Be sure to fertilize your garden. Everything from your grass to your trees and shrubs,” advises Cozzarin. Although you won’t want to think of it already, she stresses that proper steps to winterize your garden should be taken for next year. “You never know what kind of winter we will have. We have been lucky enough to have some mild winters that have allowed us to put our guard down – but after this last winter it reminded us that we need to take care of our gardens in all the seasons.”
If you want to do some research at home before going shopping, use the Plant Finder on Sheridan Nurseries’ website, or just visit your favourite gardening centre to learn about workshops and to take advantage of their expert advice!
By: Becky Dumais
10 Eco-Friendly Steps to Get Your Yard Ready for Spring
1) Clear away and compost the dead stalks from perennials.
2) Prune shrubs and small trees to maintain good form and vigour.
3) Rake the lawn to remove winter debris, which also aerates the soil and ensures air gets in to the root zone.
4) Start turning over your compost pile – the deteriorated organic material at the bottom is great mulch to spread over the garden.
5) Wash summer hummingbird and butterfly feeders thoroughly.
6) Clean out bird boxes to avoid diseases and pests.
7) Plan new beds or revitalize existing areas. Dig areas early and add organic matter (such as well-rotted compost) to improve the soil.
8) Build a bat or bird box to attract new species.
9) Learn about what plants are native to your area and find out how you can add some.
10) Contact your local gardening store or nature club to learn how to identify invasive plant species and avoid buying them. If they’re present, remove them.
Bulow Gardening Centre