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Fresh Dirt for April

 

A garden is the purest of human pleasure. It refreshes the spirit.

We like views and the way you can incorporate the inside of the house with the outside. Everything melts together seamlessly and flows.

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You cannot ignore the smiling faces of daffodils, the glowing and profuse forsythias, and the touches of purple that only the grape hyacinths, chinodoxas and scillas bestow upon us now. Their golden and royal purple show reinforces nature's color wheel. Magnolias, cherries and flowering apples add their pink and white touches. It looks and smells like Spring even though we're still experiencing a few chilly days that disturb some of our blossoming trees. It's just the unpredictability of Mother Nature!

Is it time to revamp the plantings that existed when you bought your house 20 years ago? It's amazing how refreshing it is to occasionally change a routine. You've taken the same path so many times; you may not feel the rut. We'd love to work with you. We'd love you to work with us.

WE LOVE TREES

Arbor Day is in April. Plant a tree. Trees provide shade, a natural setting for a home, and walls and a ceiling for outdoor living areas. Trees enhance a garden, soften the lines of a building, give a neighborhood character, and add color to the skyline.

Plant shrubs as early as possible in the spring. This will allow time for the roots to develop before the heat of summer.

AVOID PESTICIDES. PAY ATTENTION TO PESTS

Earth Day is also in April. When used incorrectly, pesticides can pollute water. They also kill beneficial as well as harmful insects. Natural alternatives prevent both of these events from occurring and save you money. Consider using natural alternatives for chemical pesticides: Non-detergent insecticidal soaps, garlic, hot pepper sprays, 1 teaspoon of liquid soap in a gallon of water, used dishwater, or forceful stream of water to dislodge insects.

Also consider using plants that naturally repel insects. These plants have their own chemical defense systems, and when planted among flowers and vegetables, they help keep unwanted insects away.
Herbs such as rosemary, rue, sage, and bitter wormwood are said to repel destructive insects. The smell of onions and garlic confuses pests when interplanted with crops such as carrots and cabbages. If planted in pots, these aromatics can be moved around in the garden as needed.

SPRING CLEAN UP

Cut down ornamental grasses to about 6-9 inches; remove old stems from Red-twig Dogwoods and Hydrangeas. Cut back summer blooming shrubs such as Buddleia, Spirea, and Caryopteris. Thin out and prune back roses. Shear evergreen hedges and shape conifers, if this was not done in the late fall or if there is damage from heavy rain or snow.

We are adding a balanced fertilizer and/or compost to gardens this spring. Compost is wonderful for water retention, something we now must pay careful attention to this year due to drought conditions. Mulching, even for those of you who are not fans of this in your garden, is also an efficient solution for water retention.

Consider installing an irrigation system this year and conserve water.