Gardening: Spring chores are done, now the fun begins!

Hubster and I have been kicking butt in the garden the past few weekends. It's hard to get motivated, and sometimes the weather doesn't help. But once you get over the hump of getting out there and clearing out and tending your first bed-the rest comes easily.

This is what I've been up to-and maybe a good guide for you to keep in mind.

First, get out your Canna that you've been wintering inside, and figure out where you will be planting them.

Peonies need some love. Clear out the dead debris around the new shoots, then add blood meal, bone meal and Epsom salt around the drip line. If you want to stake them or put in a wire structure, place it in now around the shoots. I usually wait until the peonies are fuller and stake them. Here is a how-to video on prepping peonies for spring.

Next clear out the winter mulch you planted around roses. Prune according to the 3 D's (Dead, Diseased, Damaged). After you prune that away, clean up the shrub by cutting canes to tidy it up. Add some rose food along the drip line. For a how-to video on caring for roses in the spring, watch this! 

I cleaned out all the beds from dead leaves and debris. We reset the self watering system, and sprinkled Epsom salt all over. It greens up the leaves and makes them wider and stronger.

 Rake off leaves and debris off of walkways and pavers. Then with a power washer or the "jet" setting on your hose sprayer, clean off the dirt on your pavers until they gleam!

Take off any protective tarps or covering off your garden furniture. Sweep off debris then lightly spray it down with the hose to clear off dirt. Let dry, then put cushions on it! (At this point, I grabbed an iced tea and sat in my shade bed on my rocker. Mamma needed a break!)

Stake and prune any climbing shrubs This is my climbing Japanese hydrangea. I tied new growth to continue to train it on the trellis, then cut dead wood off. I gave it a nice helping of Muir Acid. Also find your hydrangeas and give them Muir Acid too. 

If you have a hydrangea that grows fresh shoots from the bottom and not on old wood, you can prune off dead wood. If you have a hydrangea that grows off of old wood, leave the shrub alone until you see what's blooming and growing. Prune the shrub after flowers fade. If you wait too long to prune you may cut off flower buds set for next spring, so be careful and diligent.

Azaleas and Rhododendrons need some Muir Acid. DON'T PRUNE! Prune these bushes after they flower. If you prune in the spring you will be cutting off flower buds.

While you are cleaning out beds, pay attention to what has died and what has come back. Journal as you go and see the empty spots that you have not been able to fill out-like this corner in my shade bed. My budget never extends to this corner, BUT NOT THIS YEAR! This year is the year I am finishing the shade bed. Sketch as you go and start visualizing what you may want to replace, fill or move.

Buy some inexpensive cold tolerant annuals to add some color to you deck or patio. Bring out plants that you have been wintering inside to get them used to being outside again. See that spindly plant to the right? That's my herbal rose geranium! I cut it back and will soon repot it to give it some life over the summer.

After the beds are all tended to and cleaned, and the window boxes cleaned and mixed with compost and peat, it's time to go shopping for some flowers!! The fun began this weekend. I got plants for the boxes around the deck and container pots. Next trip I'll get some shrubs and perennials. We also prepped our vegetable garden with compost and peat. We then planted our veggie plants and seeds.

I hope you are getting your tushie out there! It's hard work but my goodness, it's so healing to get dirt under your fingernails and create beauty on your little plot of land. Especially after a rough winter we had! It's wonderful to be outside in fresh air. And the hard work you do now will pay off in July! Give your garden love and it will love you back.



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