It's the beginning of March, and we're starting to see some warmer days. Though I am afraid the snow isn't completely behind us, I think it is important to get outside and take a look around the yard.
- Since we did have quite a bit of heavy snow this winter, take a look around and notice any broken branches in your bushes and trees. These should be pruned out come Spring, or a little later for some Spring-flowering varieties.
- Get out your rakes and brush away leaves and other debris from the garden. You should be seeing Daffodils, Crocus and Hyacinth coming up. Cut back most perennials now if you haven't already done so. Spring is also a good time to cut back your Butterfly Bushes to about 12".
- Make sure you're taking care of your garden's resident birds. Clean feeders regularly and fill with new seed. Clean out birdbaths and fill to a few inches with fresh water regularly. This is the first year I have really gotten to know the birds in my yard. I know that like clockwork, if I put out a suet cake, the Downy Woodpecker will come and feast. The Chickadees flutter to and from the feeder quickly, while the Tufted Titmouse lingers awhile in the branches close to the feeder. The Blue Jay yells at all the other birds from the ground, and it's always fun to watch the little black squirrel hanging upside down stealing the seed!
Deer are becoming an
increasing problem in our area. As both the human and deer populations
grow, we are bound to run into one another. Don't despair! There
are things you can do to prevent your garden from becoming a deer buffet.
These are examples of
plants that are less likely to be eaten by deer that are
available here on the farm:
Alchemilla (Lady's Mantle)
Asarum (Wild Ginger)
Bergenia (Pig Squeak)
Galium (Sweet Woodruff)
Lamium (Dead Nettle)
Lobelia (Cardinal Flower)
Perovskia (Russian Sage)
Rudbeckia (Black-Eyed Susan)
Stachys (Lamb's Ear)
Tiarella (Foam Flower)
"Deer Out," a 100% organic alternative to
deer fencing. It covers 1250 sq.ft. and will not wash off in the
rain! In fact, the product lasts 90-120 days between applications.
Deer Out can be used on all shrubs, trees, fruits and vegetables, and
are valuable for a wide range of uses in our landscapes. They beautify
the home setting, increase property values, and provide for a
succession of bloom and color. In addition, perennials are cost
effective, unlike annuals, which die after one growing season,
perennials grow anew from their roots each Spring. Given the right
location and proper care, perennials can be used in beds, borders, rock
gardens, woodlands, meadows, and container gardens.
Choosing the Right Material:
your plants according to their intended growing positions. Is the site
wet, dry, shady, or sunny? Many plants will thrive in various
situations and some need specific conditions to thrive. Invest some
time in studying your area before planting. Our labels will provide
you with much helpful information.
Preparing the Ground for Planting:
perennials prefer a good, weed free, well drained soil which is able to
maintain moisture. Most prefer a soil pH of between 5.5 to 6.5. For
those that prefer a more alkaline soil, lime may be added. For those
that prefer a more acid soil, sulfer may be added. Dig the soil to a
depth of about 12", or more if possible. This will give the roots
plenty of room to grow. You can now incorporate bone meal, or other
fertilizers (if you wish) at the manufacturer's recommended rate.
How to Plant:
grown perennials may be planted anytime the soil is workable, from
early spring to early fall. Carefully remove the plant from the
container and plant at the same depth it was in the container. Firm
the soil around the plant to remove any air pockets around the
root-system. Water the plants thoroughly. It is best to mulch all
plantings especially for their first winter to minimize any damage from
frost heaving the plant from the soil and drying the roots.
when necessary, especially during the first year of establishment.
Once established, most plants require about an inch of water a week,
either from rain or irrigation. It is best to irrigate early in the
day to allow the foliage to dry before dark to reduce the incidence of
disease. Mulch to retain moisture loss, prevent weeds, and to keep
the roots cool. A good mulch is bark or wood chips. If you need to
stake any of your plants, it is best to do so early in the season
before the plant is actually damaged by falling over. If your
perennials seem to be losing vigor in their centers, it is probably
time to divide them. This can be done by using a shovel or spade and
cutting the plant in half. This division is best done in the spring
when growth is evident, but the plant is not too large.
your climatic zone in mind when planting perennials. We live in Zone 7
on Long Island. The library has a wealth of information about
perennials, and don't hesitate to ask your local grower for
information. Providing the best home for your perennials is the most
important step to ensure their survival.