Planning Ahead For Your Spring Garden

There is nothing as heartening after a long cold winter as seeing those spring bulbs push through the soil and burst into flower. The reds and yellows and oranges and whites are a welcome sight indeed, and a promise of all the summer flowers that will follow. To have beautiful flowers grace your yard in early spring, you need to prepare beforehand.

To have those wonderful flowers coming up early in the spring, you need to start in the fall. Plant spring bulbs just before the ground freezes. Cover your tulip and crocus bulbs with some loose steel wool. Pull it apart so the bulbs can shoot through. The steel wool will keep rodents from eating the bulbs before they can bloom. Daffodils; however, are safe. Mark where the bulbs are, so you know which ones come up and which do not. In addition, marking their location will keep you from inadvertently digging them up.

Prune bushes back in the fall, so that they will grow from strong stems in the spring. This is your chance to shape them as you want. “Leggy” growth is unattractive. Clip the bush into a symmetrical shape.

Fall is the time to give a good feeding of fertilizer to your entire yard, grass, flower beds and bushes. This will strengthen the plants, so they can grow up well when spring comes.

Charting where you will put annuals and other new plants is one of the pleasures of gardening. Give thought to the design of your yard. Put colors next to each other that blend well, and place shorter plants in front of taller ones. Look through catalogs or stroll the aisles of a local nursery, and pick out one or two new plants to try each year.

Keep your perennial beds in order. Some of them tend to spread out and overrun their allotted area. Placing a border around the bed can help keep them tidy.

Place two or three inches of autumn leaves on your flower beds as a winter blanket. The leaves will decay and add nourishing humus to the soil. You can rake off any excess leaves in the spring, once any chance of frost is past.

Place new mulch around your bushes in the spring to retain moisture and cut down on weeds.

If you want a little less challenge in taking care of your yard, add some evergreens, such as the graceful arbor vitae. They provide year round greenery and are hardy and long-lived.

Set up an old fashioned rain barrel beneath your gutter spout. The water that runs off your roof may be enough to water your yard all summer. This will lower your water bill, and provide water for you garden without chlorine and other chemicals in it.

Use these tips to increase your summer enjoyment in your yard. Get off to a good start with flowering bulbs in spring and plant waves of color that last through summer and into the fall–when the cycle begins over again.